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Although autumn is in full swing here in New England, the Atlantic hurricane season is still in session. In fact, the Atlantic basin is currently experiencing its fourth hurricane of 2015, as Tropical Storm Kate was officially upgraded to hurricane status on Wednesday morning. A weak Category 1 hurricane with sustained winds of 75 mph, Kate is forecast to weaken and become a post-tropical storm later today as it moves out to sea without impacting any major land areas.

Although hurricanes are warm-season storms, they often form well after the summer season has concluded. This is possible because they derive their energy from the heat of the sea surface, which remains warm later in the year due to the ocean’s great heat capacity. Kate is far from the latest tropical cyclone to form in the Atlantic basin: Twice in recorded history a tropical storm has formed on Dec. 30 and lasted into the next year (one of these, Alice in 1954-55, attained hurricane status).

Closer to home, a strong storm that produced both blizzard and tornado warnings in the central United States on Wednesday will pass to the north of our area today. However, those extreme conditions will not be materializing at the Institute. Instead, expect rain showers this afternoon and evening before a cold front passes through later tonight.