Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Early Tropical Storm Arthur in like Barry

Just like last year, the six-month hurricane season is off to a lightning-quick start.

Fortunately, a fast start does not necessarily mean a busy season.

Arthur, the first named storm of the season, was downgraded to a tropical depression Sunday, the season's first day, after making landfall at the Belize-Mexico border Saturday. It continued to produce heavy rains over parts of Central America and southeastern Mexico on Sunday afternoon.

Rain, heavy at times, could continue in the region for two or three days, but the system is forecast to stay over land, said Richard Knabb, a senior hurricane specialist with the National Hurricane Center in Miami. The center's computerized hurricane models were in near-unanimous agreement.

It's not unprecedented for tropical systems to form outside the season, which runs through Nov. 30, Knabb said. Between 1851 and 2006, 33 tropical storms formed during off-season months — December to May.

Last year began quickly, too.

First, benign Subtropical Storm Andrea bounced along the Atlantic coast in early May. About three weeks later, Tropical Storm Barry dropped several inches of rain when it made landfall in the Tampa Bay area June 2.

Historically, 79 tropical storms have formed during the month of June. Twenty-eight of those became hurricanes. Sixty-one tropical storms have formed in November, which logs the second-lowest number of storms during seasonal months. Thirty-nine of those have turned into hurricanes.

Compare that with peak season months like August and September. Over the same 155-year period, 344 tropical storms formed during August (with 217 becoming hurricanes) and 459 during September (with 319 becoming hurricanes).

The reason, for the most part, is water temperature. It's often plenty hot in June — the forecast for the Tampa Bay area today calls for temperatures in the low 90s — but it takes a month or two for gulf and Atlantic temperatures to rise to levels favorable to storm formation.

But there's no correlation between how early in the season the first storm strikes and the number, size or strength of storms during a season, Knabb said.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration this year predicted 12 to 16 named storms in the Atlantic region, including six to nine hurricanes and two to five major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher).

Early Tropical Storm Arthur in like Barry 06/01/08 [Last modified: Sunday, June 1, 2008 11:27pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Navy expected to relieve admiral in charge of 7th Fleet in response to deadly disasters at sea


    The Navy will relieve the senior admiral in charge of the service's 7th Fleet based in Japan in response to four embarrassing accidents this year, two of which killed sailors at sea, two U.S. officials said.

    Tugboats assist the guided-missile destroyer John S. McCain on its way to Changi Naval Base in Singapore on Monday. [U.S. Navy]
  2. Trump chides media over Charlottesville


    President Donald Trump is blaming the media for the widespread condemnation of his response to a Charlottesville, Va., protest organized by white supremacists that led to the killing of a counter-protester.

    Trump met service members before the rally.
  3. Jones: Koetter-Winston exchange highlights latest 'Hard Knocks'


    There are certain things that make HBO's Hard Knocks must-see television.

    Jameis Winston, left, has an exchange with Dirk Koetter that highlights Hard Knocks.
  4. Rays are full of ideas they'd like to share when commissioner visits

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Commissioner Rob Manfred is coming to the Trop today. Hmm. Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg will be there to greet him. Hmmmm. And they have a scheduled joint media session. Hmmmmmmmmm.

    Commissioner Rob Manfred isn’t expected to say anything definitive about the Rays’ stadium situation when he visits the team today.
  5. Mayor Rick Kriseman endorsed by another police union


    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman is already backed by the city's largest police union, the Suncoast Police Benevolent Association.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman has secured another police union endorsement