Florence isn’t alone. More tropical storms are brewing

An enhanced satellite image showing Hurricane Florence, third from right, west of Isaac and Helene.

All eyes are on Hurricane Florence and its path toward the Carolinas, but other hurricanes are brewing as well. And the timing couldn’t be more apt: Monday was the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season, when storm activity has historically been at its highest.

Isaac is now a tropical storm

The National Hurricane Center downgraded Isaac to a tropical storm overnight but said Tuesday that it could be “at or near hurricane levels” on Thursday, when it approaches the Lesser Antilles Islands.

Winds of tropical storm strength could reach Puerto Rico on Friday morning. Tropical storms generate winds between 39 and 73 mph, just below hurricane force.

The storm is expected to produce 2 to 4 inches of rain, with near 6 inches possible in isolated areas, forecasters said.

No coastal watches or warnings are in effect Tuesday morning.

Helene is spinning at sea

Still closer to Africa than North America, Hurricane Helene is predicted to head northeast in the Atlantic, then veer toward Europe, the center said.

Sustained winds on Tuesday morning approached 110 mph, making it a very strong Category 2 storm. No coastal watches or warnings were in effect.

Olivia is aiming for Hawaii

Meantime in the Pacific, Tropical Storm Olivia is still moving toward Hawaii, where tropical storm warnings and watches are in effect, according to the Pacific Hurricane Center.

Gradual weakening is expected as Olivia approaches the main Hawaiian Islands, which it should pass over late Tuesday night into Wednesday. A tropical storm warning means tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere in the area within 36 hours, and a watch within 48 hours.

Olivia’s maximum sustained winds are about 65 mph, after the storm weakened from Category 1 strength, forecasters said.

National Weather Service officials in Honolulu urged residents to remain careful, noting that the difference between a Category 1 hurricane and a tropical storm is just 5 mph wind speed. Damaging winds, floods, high surf and storm surge are still possible.