A potential tropical system in early May? It's 'unusual, but not unheard of'

According to the National Weather Service, the disturbance has a 20 percent chance of developing into a tropical system over the next five days, but that won't happen until it's back in the Atlantic.
The National Hurricane Center is tracking a low-pressure system approaching southeast Florida May 2, 2019, that has a 10 percent chance of further development over the next two days as it turns northeast into the Atlantic and off the Carolina coast. [National Hurricane Center]
The National Hurricane Center is tracking a low-pressure system approaching southeast Florida May 2, 2019, that has a 10 percent chance of further development over the next two days as it turns northeast into the Atlantic and off the Carolina coast. [National Hurricane Center]
Published May 2
Updated May 2

The National Weather Service is currently tracking a disturbance with some tropical potential that'll spread rain over south and west-central Florida on Thursday.

If it develops, it could signal an early start to Hurricane season.

Out of the ordinary? Yes. Unprecedented? Certainly not.

HURRICANE GUIDE: Emergency information, tracking map and storm resources

According to the Weather Service, the disturbance has a 10 percent chance of developing into a tropical system over the next two days, but that won't happen until it's back in the Atlantic.

"If it does (develop), it’ll be once it's out over the Atlantic," forecaster Andrew McKaughan said. "There's nothing to worry about for us other than some more rain."

If the disturbance does organize into a system it'll be "unusual, but not unheard of," McKaughan said.

Hurricane season generally runs from June through November, but the title can be more of an arbitrary moniker than hard-fast rule. It's a time frame developed using historical data that tells when hurricanes are most likely to develop, but they can come at any time, if conditions are right. Last year, a tropical system developed in the eastern Gulf of Mexico around May and, McKaughan said, they've been seen in January before.

Tropical or not, Tampa Bay residents should be sure to carry an umbrella on Thursday. Or at least some kind of poncho.

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Contact Daniel Figueroa IV at dfigueroa@tampabay.com. Follow @danuscripts.

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