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Danny continues to fall apart as remnants move west

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Posted at 8:58 AM, Aug 18, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-24 11:07:38-04

Danny has weakened even further into a remnant low with maximum sustained winds near 30 mph.

Danny is centered about 45 miles West Southwest of Guadalupe and is moving west at 12 mph.  The storm will continue to move across the southern Leeward Islands on Monday and into the northeastern Caribbean Sea.

The storm is expected to continue on a West-Northwestward path over the next 48 hours.

The tropical storm watch issued for St. Maarten has been discontinued. However, Danny is expected to produce 2 to 4 inches of rain over the Leeward Islands, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic through Tuesday.

We are also tracking a low pressure system located about midway between Africa and the Windward Islands. The low is gradually becoming better defined and environmental conditions are conducive for additional development, and a tropical depression could form later today or on Tuesday while the system moves westward at around 20 mph.

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Formation chance through 48 hours: High (90%)

Formation chance through 5 days: High (90%)

El Niño’s effect on hurricanes

The development of Danny from disturbance to depression to storm to hurricane follows an unusually quiet August, raising the prospect of no named hurricanes this year in Atlantic.

This year’s El Niño could rival the one of 18 years ago, which would mean fewer Atlantic hurricanes as a result of increased upper level winds that prevent them from developing. In fact, officials are predicting a calm 2015 hurricane season in the United States.

Hurricane Arthur, a Category 2 storm, was the last hurricane to make landfall in the United States, when it came ashore last July between Cape Lookout and Beaufort in Emerald Island, North Carolina, the National Hurricane Center said.

Though forecasters are calling for a below-average storm season in the Atlantic, CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen said storms in the region can have a strong impact.

Hurricane Andrew struck South Florida and south-central Louisiana in August 1992 with 175-mph winds, wiping out entire communities, killing 23 people and causing more than $25 billion in damage.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Prediction Center, which has updated its 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook, there is a 90% chance of a below-normal hurricane season and a lower chance of expected storm activity in the United States this year.

This means that of the 6 to 10 named storms for this season, 1 to 4 storms are likely to become hurricanes in 2015.

And there’s an even smaller chance that one of these storms will transform into a major hurricane. The National Hurricane Center calls any Category 3 or higher storm a major hurricane.

The naturally occurring climate cycle known as El Niño has strengthened, causing several factors that prevent hurricanes from forming, such as increased wind shears, strong winds that travel in a vertical direction and enhanced sinking motion across the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean Sea.

Also, the Atlantic Ocean has had much cooler temperatures, which decreases the chances of major storm activity.

Since 1995, the United States has been in a high hurricane activity area, which typically lasts around 25 years. But for almost a decade, the country hasn’t seen a hurricane greater than a Category 3 storm, putting it in a nine-year hurricane “drought.”

The United States has indeed seen some big storms in the past few years though. In 2012, hurricane-turned-cyclone Superstorm Sandy, ravaged the Northeast with damaging flooding and powerful winds.

But this has been the longest stretch of time to pass without a major hurricane hitting the United States since reliable record keeping began in 1850, a 2015 NASA study said.

CNN Wire contributed to this report.