MIAMI – Hurricane Helene formed in the open Atlantic on Saturday but posed no immediate threat to land, forecasters said.
The storm had maximum sustained winds of 75 mph — just 1 mph above tropical storm status — to make it a Category 1 hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center. It is the fourth hurricane of the season.
At 11 a.m. EDT, Helene's center was located about 1,145 miles east of the Northern Leeward Islands. It was moving northwest near 14 mph, a path the storm was expected to continue for the next day.
Some strengthening was also expected in the next day.
Meanwhile Saturday, a weakened Hurricane Gordon also had top sustained winds near 75 mph, down from 85 mph on Friday.
At 11 a.m. EDT, Gordon was centered about 655 miles east of Bermuda and was nearly stationary. A slow north-northeastern motion was expected to develop but forecasters said Gordon would gradually weaken.
The National Hurricane Center's latest forecast for the season expects between seven and nine hurricanes, a slight reduction from earlier predictions.
Scientists said this week that weak El Nino conditions had inhibited hurricane development by bringing higher ocean temperatures that increase crosswinds over the Caribbean. The winds can rip storms apart or stop them from forming.
But National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists warned that the El Nino effect on hurricanes has been small so far. And the season, which lasts until Nov. 30, is still at its traditional peak.