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Hurricane Gordon threatens Azores, Tropical Storm Helene fizzles out quickly

Tropical Storm Gordon became a hurricane early August 18, only the third hurricane in the 2012 season. Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Helene only spent one day at tropical storm level before quickly fizzling down to a post-tropical cyclone. According to the 19 August update from the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Gordon was still several hundred miles from the Azores as of 2 p.m. Atlantic time, and was blasting winds at 90 m.p.h.

The 2012 hurricane season has produced three hurricanes: Chris, Ernesto (shown) and Gordon.
NOAA/Getty Images

By Saturday evening, Hurricane Gordon had reached peak winds of 110 m.p.h., making this storm the fiercest so far in the 2012 hurricane season. Those winds continued through Sunday morning before the storm slowly weakened a little to its Sunday afternoon level. The Eastern Azores are on hurricane watch; landfall is expected Monday. The islands will start to feel Gordon's wrath Sunday night.

Tropical Storm Helene was a different story entirely—a two-act show. She first formed on August 9 as Tropical Depression Seven, which threatened the Windward Islands such as Barbados. By August 11, NOAA was calling the storm a “remnant,” but it rallied and became a tropical storm on August 17 that lurked near Tuxpan, Mexico.

With maximum sustained winds of 45 m.p.h., the storm was weakening by Friday while still creeping northwards towards Texas. By 10 a.m. Central Time Saturday, the cyclone had made landfall and weakened to a tropical depression with 35 m.p.h. winds. The last advisory was Saturday night; Helene was no longer a threat.

Sources:; NOAA (Helene); NOAA (Gordon)

To get the latest Seasonal Trends updates, subscribe to this column here, or view it in your feed reader. Scroll down for more articles and to comment. Linda Gentile covers the circle of the year from the standpoint of its holidays, seasons and “times.”


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