Gabrielle threatens Bermuda, Humberto threatens to become year's first hurricane

A strengthening tropical storm Humberto is moving northwest across the Atlantic, southwest of the Cape Verde Islands, and could become the first hurricane of the season.

When it comes to hurricanes, never is better than late.

But never looks out of the question for the 2013 hurricane season.

Humberto seems likely to become the season's first hurricane today, keeping 2013 out of the record books for slowest start to the hurricane season by just a day.

A bigger threat, though, is tropical storm Gabrielle, whose center "is expected to pass over or near Bermuda tonight and early Wednesday," according to an advisory from the National Hurricane Center.

Storm surge could reach several feet. Rainfall could top a half-foot in some spots. Winds could gust as high as 65 m.p.h.

By Friday morning, Gabrielle, still a tropical storm, should be a few hundred miles off the coast of New Jersey, on its way toward Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

Fortunately, Humberto looks harmless. Off the coast of Africa, it's projected to churn northward far out in the mid-Atlantic.

"Hazards affecting land: None," according to an advisory from the National Hurricane Center.

2002 should retain the record for a late start. Gustav was first tropical storm to reach hurricane status that year, on Sept. 11. Hurricanes have sustained winds of 74 m.p.h. or more.

Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or