While some additional strengthening may be possible overnight, Tropical Storm Josephine is likely to weaken over the weekend as it continues a path that will spare most of the Caribbean any significant impact, the U.S. National Hurricane Centre (NHC) says.
"Josephine should pass far enough to the northeast of the Leeward Islands over the weekend to prevent major impacts," the NHC says. "However, interests there should continue to monitor its progress until the storm has passed north of the area."
A Hurricane Hunter aircraft investigating the storm found its centre had drifted somewhat northward, and it remains set to continue on a track that will see it dissipate long before it nears land.
The storm's winds were 65 km/h as of Friday evening. As for land-based impacts, the NHC says the storm may fuel heavy rainfall for parts of the Leeward Islands, Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico, in the 25-75 mm range.
The relatively active season so far has featured several storms that were the earliest of their number to be named, with Josephine not an exception. Colorado State University Philip Klotzbach said the previous earliest J-named storm on record was Jose, which reached tropical status on Aug. 22, 2005.
That season remains the most active on record, with 31 named storms. Meteorologists actually ran out of letters in the Latin alphabet to name them, and six were named for letters of the Greek alphabet. The last, Tropical Storm Zeta, formed in late December and did not dissipate until Jan. 6, 2005.
The 2020 season has so far produced 10 named storms, including two hurricanes: Hanna, which impacted Texas and northern Mexico, and Isaias, which tracked up the U.S. East Coast and whose remnants fuelled downpours in Quebec earlier in August.