Early tropical disturbance off Florida may kickstart hurricane season a month in advance
A tropical disturbance off Florida is reportedly threatening to start the Atlantic hurricane season a month before its official forecast.
While the storm system is currently bringing showers and thunderstorms to the northwestern Bahamas, it is expected to move towards Florida in the next few days, CNN reports.
In order to address the unexpected disturbance, the National Hurricane Center published a special tropical weather outlook on Wednesday. The center does not usually begin producing daily tropical outlooks for the Atlantic until June 1, the official start of the hurricane season.
“Little development is expected during the next couple of days as the system moves generally northwestward toward the Florida Peninsula,” the center said in the outlook. Subsequently, some slow development is possible as the disturbance turns northeastward and moves over the western Atlantic.”
They further added that even if the system doesn't become a storm or tropical depression, it would bring heavy showers across the Bahamas and the Florida peninsula. Over the next five days, the center has predicted a 20% chance for the system to form into a tropical depression.
That said, the state of Florida is advised to prepare for heavy rainfall and the possibility of flash flooding, which could last from Thursday through the weekend.
Meanwhile, it is being said that daily afternoon thunderstorms will be more frequent, last longer, and produce more rainfall than usual for this time of the year.
Should the system form into a tropical or subtropical storm, it will be named Andrea per the 2019 list of Atlantic storm names.
Naming storms before the stipulated start date of hurricane season is a rare phenomenon. Nonetheless, it has happened several times of late. Subtropical Storm Alberto, which hit the Yucatán Peninsula last season, was named on May 25. Three days later, Alberto hit the Florida Panhandle and brought heavy rain coupled with some tropical storm-force winds.
Tropical Storm Arlene became only the second tropical storm to be named in the month of April back in 2017. It lasted three days before fading into the Northern Atlantic.