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Tropical Storm Joyce Forms in Atlantic

Tropical Storm Joyce on Aug. 23.
An infrared/visible satellite image of Tropical Storm Joyce, captured around 9 a.m. ET, Aug. 23. (Image credit: University of Wisconsin Madison, Space Science and Engineering Center.)

Tropical Storm Isaac has some new company. 

Tropical Storm Joyce has formed over Atlantic waters, and is now the 10th named storm of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season.

The storm is packing top sustained winds of 40 miles per hour (65 kilometers per hour), just nudging the gale over the 39-mph (63-kph) threshold required to attain tropical storm status — that's when a storm is officially christened.

Joyce is the sixth named storm birthed during the month of August — a stark contrast to the preceding month; in July, not a single named storm appeared in the Atlantic Ocean.

Tropical Storm Joyce is moving west-northwest at about 17 mph (28 kph), and poses no immediate threat to land.

Although the storm is still far out to sea, it is moving along a similar trajectory as Tropical Storm Isaac, which could strengthen to a hurricane later today (Aug. 23). That storm is headed toward U.S. shores, where it could make for a soggy Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., next week.

The recent sudden increase in storm activity is keeping pace with an updated seasonal forecast, issued Aug. 9 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which upped the number of storms expected during the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season.

The initial seasonal forecast called for nine to 15 named storms; the updated outlook projects that 12 to 17 named storms, including the storms that have already occurred, will appear this year.

August and September are typically the busiest months for hurricane activity in the Atlantic, and yet another patch of rough weather has already appeared off the coast of Africa. Forecasters say it has a 10 percent chance of strengthening into a tropical cyclone — the umbrella term for organized, rotating storms that appear over tropical waters, and a category that includes tropical depressions, tropical storms and hurricanes.

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Andrea Mustain was a staff writer for Live Science from 2010 to 2012. She holds a B.S. degree from Northwestern University and an M.S. degree in broadcast journalism from Columbia University.