MIAMI — Josephine just barely held on to its tropical storm status early Friday as it moved over the Atlantic Ocean as the earliest “J-named” storm in a record-setting hurricane season.
The storm had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph and was located about 680 miles east-southeast of the northern Leeward Islands, the U.S. National Hurricane Center stated in its 5 a.m. advisory.
Tropical storms have maximum sustained winds between 39 and 73 mph. Josephine was expected to strengthen over the next day or so, forecasters said.
No coastal watches or warnings were in effect.
Josephine was the earliest tenth Atlantic named storm on record, breaking the previous record of Jose, which formed Aug. 22, 2005, according to Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach.
So far this year, Cristobal, Danielle, Edouard, Fay, Gonzalo, Hanna and Isaias have also set records for being the earliest named Atlantic storms of their respective place in the alphabet. Only Hanna and Isaias this year have developed into hurricanes.
Isaias killed two people in the Caribbean earlier this month. Several others across multiple U.S. states were then killed when the storm made landfall in North Carolina and moved through the East Coast, leading to floods, tornadoes, fires, and widespread power outages.
Last month, Hurricane Hanna slammed the Texas Gulf Coast with high winds and rains that flooded streets and knocked out power across the region.