CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Yet again, it looks like we’re jumping the gun on the Atlantic Hurricane Season. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is tracking an area just north of the Bahamas for tropical development. An area of low pressure with some tropical characteristic is likely to form within the next 5 days. Currently, the NHC is giving this developing storm a 70% chance of becoming named within the next 5 days. If named, this storm would be the first storm of the year and would be given the name Arthur.
Fortunately, we here in the western Carolinas have nothing to worry about as, regardless of whether or not it has a name, this system should sweep off to the east before it can have any sort of impact on the mainland US. Rip currents could be a risk for coastal communities this weekend, though.
The National Hurricane Center says future Arthur, if named, would likely be considered a subtropical storm, a form of tropical system that has only been counted in the Atlantic hurricane database since 2002. A subtropical storm is a system that has both tropical and non-tropical characteristics. Typically, a subtropical storm has fronts, which is considered to be a non-tropical characteristic, while keeping a warm core (a tropical characteristic).
Atlantic Hurricane Season typically runs from June 1 – November 30. So, just how rare is a named storm developing before the start of the season? It’s not typical, as only 32 seasons have started before June 1 since 1851. However, it is becoming much more common as ocean temperatures rise. Should Arthur be spawned before June 1, this would be the sixth straight Atlantic season to start early, and the 11th since 2000.