Tropical storm Olga forms, could become late-season hurricane; no immediate threat to land

Monday, November 26th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MIAMI (AP) _ With less than a week left in the hurricane season, Tropical Storm Olga formed Monday from a rare subtropical system in the central Atlantic east of Bermuda.

Olga, the 15th named storm of the season, could become a hurricane by late Monday, said Jack Beven of the National Hurricane Center. However, it was far to sea and posed no immediate threat to land, he said.

Olga developed from a subtropical system that strengthened during the weekend. Subtropical storms lack some characteristics of true tropical storms, including having their highest sustained wind blowing close to their centers, and they can form at any time of the year, meteorologists said.

Bermuda reported wind of 30 to 35 mph with gusts up to 40 mph on Monday, Beven said.

``We don't think it's going to get far enough west to threaten Bermuda,'' Beven said. ``It will probably meander around in the central Atlantic for two or three days'' before it weakens.

However, Beven said the U.S. East Coast, the Bahamas and the islands of the northern Caribbean would experience higher than normal waves because of Olga's size. Reports of 8- to 10-foot swells already had come in from some mid-Atlantic states, Beven said.

At 10 a.m. EST, Olga had top sustained wind of 70 mph and was 515 miles east of Bermuda, moving toward the northwest at about 7 mph.

A tropical storm becomes a hurricane when its sustained wind speed reaches 74 mph.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30 each year. The last storm to develop this late in the season was Hurricane Nicole in 1998. Nicole became a tropical storm on Nov. 24 and reached hurricane status on Nov. 30, but it quickly weakened and never touched land.