The 2021 hurricane season just couldn’t wait to get started.
Subtropical Storm Ana formed in the north Atlantic early Saturday, according to the National Hurricane Center, becoming the first named storm of 2021. This is the seventh year in a row that a named storm has formed in May, ahead of the traditional June 1 start to hurricane season.
Ana was located about 175 miles northeast of Bermuda, according to the center’s 11 a.m. Saturday advisory. It was generating maximum sustained winds of 45 mph and moving west at 3 mph — away from Bermuda and the U.S. It’s generating winds of up to 40 mph as far as 205 miles north of its center.
A tropical storm watch was lifted for Bermuda. While it’s no longer unusual for named storms to form in May, it is unusual for one to form in the north Atlantic, far from the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea.
But Ana doesn’t seem to be going anywhere or doing much of anything. Instead of strengthening into a tropical storm, forecasters believe it will slow down and dissipate in the coming days. Wind shear and dry air are expected to take Ana apart and reduce it to a trough of low pressure in the next 48 to 60 hours.
Meanwhile the other tropical disturbance that meteorologists were monitoring in the western Gulf of Mexico has moved over southeastern Texas and is no longer expected to strengthen.
But it could still produce enough rain to concern residents of coastal Texas and Louisiana, who are already dealing with heavy rains, flooded rivers and saturated ground.
This week the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its first seasonal forecast, which calls for an above-normal year with 13 to 20 named storms, 6 to 10 hurricanes and 3 to 5 major hurricanes.
It is the latest forecast to call for an active storm season. The Colorado State University forecast calls for 17 named storms, 8 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes, which is a Category 3 or greater storm generating winds of more than 111 mph.
That’s a good reminder that it’s time to get ready for hurricane season. Florida’s disaster preparedness sales tax holiday starts Friday and runs through June 6. For a list of tax-exempt hurricane supplies, check out floridarevenue.com/disasterprep/.
The next named storm will be designated Bill.
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Tampa Bay Times Hurricane Guide
HURRICANE SEASON IS HERE: Get ready and stay informed at tampabay.com/hurricane
PREPARE FOR COVID-19 AND THE STORM: The CDC's tips for this pandemic-hurricane season
PREPARE YOUR STUFF: Get your documents and your data ready for a storm
PROTECT YOUR PETS: Your pets can’t get ready for a storm. That’s your job
NEED TO KNOW: Click here to find your evacuation zone and shelter