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Forecasters monitoring Atlantic system six weeks before hurricane season

It might be only April, but the National Hurricane Center is already monitoring a patch of bad weather in the Atlantic that forecasters say could become a tropical cyclone.

The system was about 460 miles northeast of Puerto Rico Wednesday afternoon. Forecasters said there is a 20 percent chance the system will become a cyclone, which would make for an early start to the tropical weather season. Hurricane season starts June 1.

Tropical systems this early in the year are rare, but not unprecedented. Subtropical systems have formed as early as January — the last in 1978. The earliest hurricane to form was in March 1908.

Forecasters said the system that formed Wednesday was moving west-northwest at about 10 mph. It was packing winds of 39 to 54 mph.

Forecasters monitoring Atlantic system six weeks before hurricane season 04/20/11 [Last modified: Thursday, April 21, 2011 9:33am]
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