For the moment, the Eastern Caribbean can breathe a sigh of summer relief.
CNN has reported that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) downgraded Hurricane Danny from a Category 3 storm to a Category 2 storm after observation planes measured sustained maximum winds of 110 mph.
The news is an encouraging sign for the string of Eastern Caribbean islands which may be in the projected path of the storm.
The storm is relatively small, with its winds extending out only 15 miles from its eye. It currently is making its way across the Atlantic Ocean. At the time of the NOAA report, Danny was 810 miles from the nearest Caribbean islands.
Forecasters are predicting the storm will “continue to weaken” as it moves across the Atlantic.
Forecasters think Hurricane Danny will continue to weaken as it heads west, becoming a tropical storm before it nears the Leeward Islands.
According to the official forecast report from NOAA, the hurricane’s strength will steadily drop from 100 mph this morning to 85 mph later today and 75 mph tomorrow, making it a Category 1 hurricane.
Over the next four days, the hurricane’s winds are predicted to drop 35 mph, knocking the storm down from a hurricane to a tropical storm.
Danny can thank “winds aloft” from El Niño, the Pacific Ocean weather system whose high-elevations winds are knocking the lid off the storm and not allowing it to form into a more powerful hurricane.
Strong southwesterly winds aloft and a stable air mass are expected to cause Danny to continue losing strength during the next several days.
Also working against the storm are the Greater Antilles, a collection of Atlantic islands which will sap part of the storm’s strength as Danny passes over the small land masses.
The hurricane is the first of the Atlantic season, one which forecasters say will be relatively tame compared to other years.
Update: NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly has posted an image of Hurricane Danny from the International Space Station: