Rare storm may form in the Atlantic Ocean in December

A large area of low pressure is 900 miles northeast of the Leeward Islands

Louise Boyle
Senior Climate Correspondent, New York
Wednesday 07 December 2022 19:55 GMT
Storm Nicole: Building submerged in water after collapsing into ocean

Support truly
independent journalism

Our mission is to deliver unbiased, fact-based reporting that holds power to account and exposes the truth.

Whether $5 or $50, every contribution counts.

Support us to deliver journalism without an agenda.

Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


An unusual disturbance is brewing in the Atlantic Ocean and could result in the first subtropical December storm since 2013.

A special tropical weather outlook was issued on Wednesday over the potential for a subtropical development in the central Atlantic by the National Weather Service (NWS).

A large area of low pressure producing showers and thunderstorms had formed about 900 miles northeast of the Leeward Islands but poses no threat to land.

“Environmental conditions appear marginally conducive for development and a subtropical or tropical storm could form in the day or two,” NWS reported.

The disturbance has a 40 per cent chance of becoming a subtropical storm in the next 48 hours, and a 50 per cent chance in the next five days. If it does so, it will be named Storm Owen.

Atlantic hurricane season officially ended on 30th November making the subtropical development a rare occurence. Only 11 named storms have occurred in the Atlantic in the past 70 years.

The late season Hurricane Nicole battered the east coast of Florida with strong winds, dangerous storm surge and heavy rain in mid-November.

The hurricane saw airports and theme parks shuttered in the sunshine state and led to evacuation orders for residents including at former president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club.

For storm-weary Floridians, it was only the third November hurricane to hit their shores since recordkeeping began in 1853. The previous ones were the 1935 Yankee Hurricane and Hurricane Kate in 1985.

In September, Florida was devastated by the near-category 5 Hurricane Ian which killed more than 100 people and destroyed thousands of homes.

Hurricane Ian was one of the strongest in Florida’s history, slamming into state with 155mph winds, heavy rain, and a powerful storm surge which overwhelmed communities. The hurricane then ploughed across the state, dropping several feet of rain in cities hundreds of miles inland.

The climate crisis does not necessarily mean more hurricanes in the future – but planet-heating greenhouse gas emissions, largely caused by burning fossil fuels, are super-charging storms making it more common for them to rapidly-intensify and hold more water.

AP contributed to this report

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in