MIAMI (Reuters) - Tropical Storm Grace raced across the northeastern Atlantic on Monday on a path toward the British Isles but was expected to weaken and be absorbed by a cold front off Ireland by Tuesday morning, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
Far across the Atlantic Ocean southwest of Grace, a separate tropical wave headed for the eastern Caribbean, and the NHC gave that system a medium chance — 30 to 50 percent — of becoming a tropical cyclone during the next 48 hours.
Grace, the seventh named storm of the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season, formed far out in the northeastern Atlantic and was packing winds of near 65 miles per hour (100 kilometers per hour), the Miami-based NHC said.
At 11:00 a.m. EDT, the storm was located 575 miles southwest of Cork, Ireland.
The NHC said Grace should weaken over the next 24 hours and be absorbed by a cold front just southwest of Ireland by Tuesday morning.
Jeff Masters, a veteran forecaster of Weather Underground, described the emergence of Grace as an anomaly, saying it was the farthest northeast an Atlantic tropical storm had ever formed since satellite observations began in the 1960s.
With Grace posing absolutely no threat to the U.S. east coast or Gulf of Mexico oil facilities, energy traders were much more interested in the possible path of the tropical wave located 950 miles east of the Windward Islands.
Given a medium chance of becoming a tropical cyclone by the NHC, this system was moving west-northwestward and some computer models saw it heading into the Caribbean sea south of Puerto Rico in the coming days.
The 2009 Atlantic hurricane season has been quiet, producing only seven named storms so far, of which only two, Bill and Fred, turned into hurricanes, although neither seriously threatened populated areas or oil facilities.
Reporting by Pascal Fletcher and Scott DiSavino, Editing by Cynthia Osterman