MIAMI — With the clock running down — literally, a digital countdown clock on the Weather Channel — an otherwise unremarkable and unthreatening tropical storm named Humberto fell just short of making history early Wednesday.
The National Hurricane Center announced at 5 a.m. that Humberto had reached hurricane strength, leaving it No. 2 on the list of the latest-forming first hurricane in nearly a half-century.
Gustav, which was declared a hurricane at 8 a.m., Sept. 11, 2002, retained the record by three hours — at least pending further review. The center always conducts a post-storm analysis that potentially could change estimated wind speeds along its track.
By evening, Humberto's winds had increased to 85 mph, but it remained thousands of miles from the United States and no threat to land. Forecasters expected it to linger for a few days before weakening in the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean. A regenerated Tropical Storm Gabrielle continued to weaken as it moved north after sweeping across Bermuda with 60 mph winds overnight.