Subtropical Storm Melissa forms in the Atlantic

     Subtropical Storm Melissa at 8:30 am EST on November 18, 2013. (Image: NASA)

    Subtropical Storm Melissa at 8:30 am EST on November 18, 2013. (Image: NASA)

    Subtropical Storm Melissa, the 13th named storm of the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, formed today about 700 miles east of Bermuda.

    Forecasters expect Melissa — which may reach tropical storm status by Tuesday — to head generally in a northeasterly direction before turning more northerly later in the week.

    The storm is not expected to reach hurricane status or threaten land, according to a five-day track published by the National Hurricane Center.

    What exactly is a subtropical storm? The National Hurricane Center defines it as follows:

    A non-frontal low pressure system that has characteristics of both tropical and extratropical cyclones. The most common type is an upper-level cold low with circulation extending to the surface layer and maximum sustained winds generally occurring at a radius of about 100 miles or more from the center. In comparison to tropical cyclones, such systems have a relatively broad zone of maximum winds that is located farther from the center, and typically have a less symmetric wind field and distribution of convection.

    Hurricane season ends November 30.

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