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. Half of Florida lawmakers fail or nearly fail review of support for public records

    State Roundup

    WEST PALM BEACH — Half of Florida's legislators failed or nearly failed in a review of their support for public records and meetings given by Florida newspapers and an open-government group after this year's legislative sessions.

    State Senator Bill Galvano, R- Bradenton (left) and Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran ranked on opposite sides of the spectrum in an analysis of support for open records. Galvano scored a B-minus and Corcoran scored a D-plus.
[Times file photo]
  2. Yale dean on leave over offensive Yelp reviews leaves post

    Bizarre News

    NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A Yale University dean who was placed on leave over offensive reviews she posted on Yelp has left her position at the Ivy League institution, school officials said Tuesday.

  3. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park


    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]
  4. The people you meet along O.J. Howard Lane


    OJ Howard (far right) is seen in a photo from his adolescent years at Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church in Prattville, Ala., on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. Howard served as an usher in addition to attending regular services at this church.