Another quirk of an otherwise odd Atlantic season: the storm grew unusually strong to the north — near 40 degrees latitude — where hurricanes are rare. But it was the warmest sea water recorded there that fueled the storm.
Hurricane expert Michael Lowry of Miami TV affiliate WPLG tweeted that sea surface temperatures near Daniel topped 80 degrees for the first time. Such warm water is needed for tropical storms and hurricanes to intensify.
#Daniel Sea surface temperatures broke records in a part of the North Atlantic yesterday. For the first time since complete satellite coverage of the oceans began in 1981, water in the area near Daniel reached 80°F, rivaling the heat of the deep tropics in summer. pic.twitter.com/ZsMKRPiqIB
— Michael Lowry (@MichaelRLowry) September 2, 2022
Much of the northwest Atlantic is significantly warmer than normal, reflecting the effects of human-caused climate change, which has raised ocean temperatures worldwide.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration programs A moderate to strong ocean heat wave is underway in the area where Daniel grew up. Ocean heat waves are periods when ocean temperatures are abnormally high and are associated with significant effects on marine ecosystems.
Daniel is part of the northern and eastern hurricanes that form in the Atlantic Ocean, due to this heat wave.
The best track indicates that Daniel is the first hurricane of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, a day after it formed.
This additionally makes Daniel one of the most northeast Atlantic storms to become a hurricane in modern records (1950–2022). pic.twitter.com/RwIqIEbNSP
— Tomer Burg (@burgwx) September 2, 2022
At 11 a.m. ET, Daniel was centered about 885 miles west of the Azores and nearly stationary. “The hurricane is forecast to rotate over the open Atlantic over the next two days, then slowly turn northeastward early next week,” the hurricane center wrote.
The center predicts the storm will strengthen to a Category 2 hurricane by Sunday, before weakening to a Category 1 by the middle of next week.
The 2022 hurricane season has surprised forecasters by being unusually quiet, despite early forecasts for a busy season. The Atlantic was without a named storm for nearly two months, from early July to late August. August passed without a storm for the first time since 1997.
Although warm ocean water favors storm formation, the combination of dry, stable air and hostile winds usually suppresses development.
But since early September, the Atlantic has shown signs of awakening. In addition to Daniel, the hurricane center is tracking a disturbance east of the Lesser Antilles and giving it a 70 percent chance of developing into a tropical depression or storm over the next five days.
The system is watching: Most forecast models say the disturbance will roll out to sea over several days, but a few suggest it could continue west toward the Bahamas and possibly the southeastern United States.
Another disturbance west of Africa is also being monitored, but the center has determined that it has only a 10 percent chance of forming.