The first named storm of the year may arrive two weeks before the official start date of hurricane season on June 1.
An area of low pressure in the Atlantic Ocean has the possibility of becoming a subtropical storm this weekend, according to the National Weather Service. There was a 50 percent chance that it could become a subtropical storm this weekend, though it does not appear to pose a threat to Florida.
The storm is most likely to develop on Friday or Saturday, according to weather service meteorologist Dustin Norman of the Ruskin office.
“There isn’t much there at the moment," Norman said. "What we’re expecting is an area of low pressure to form near the Bahamas or over the Bahamas by Friday or Saturday. Then it’ll eventually pull off to the northeast, headed in the general direction toward Bermuda.”
Norman says it isn’t likely to grow more powerful than a subtropical storm, which has winds up to 40 miles per hour.
If the area of low pressure does become a subtropical storm, then it’ll be named Arthur, the first name on the list of 2020 storm names.
It isn’t out of the norm to see a subtropical storm from in May, Norman said. In fact, subtropical systems have formed three years in a row. Subtropical Storm Andrea formed on May 20 last year. Subtropical Storm Alberto formed on May 25, 2018. Tropical Storm Arlene came way early in 2017, forming on April 19.
Those years turned out to be busy hurricane seasons in the Atlantic. The early forecasts for this hurricane season also call for an active season. But Norman said seeing subtropical storms form in May doesn’t really offer any insights into what the rest of the storm season will bring.
“An early named storm isn’t an indicator for the rest of the season,” Norman said. “We could have this develop and nothing come for two months. There’s no reason to panic.”
Hurricane researchers at Colorado State University have forecast an active 2020 storm season. Their model predicts there will 16 named storms forming in the Atlantic Ocean this year, four of which will be storms that are classified as a Category 3 Hurricane or higher.
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