National Hurricane Center weighs in on possible 1st system of season

Update 4 p.m.: The National Hurricane Center is now saying there is a 30 percent chance of tropical development in the next five days as a low pressure system brews off the coast of Florida.


According to a special 3:35 p.m. tropical weather outlook, environmental conditions near an area of showers and thunderstorms will become conducive over the next few days for a subtropical or tropical system to form up northeast of Bahamas by Friday.

There is no chance of something forming within 48 hours.

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This is the first time the hurricane center has weighed in on the potential for this system to become something more. The next special tropical outlook will be issued by 4 p.m. Wednesday.

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While a few days ahead of schedule, early tropical development has some precedents.

Hurricanes have formed in every month but February. Last year, Tropical Storm Ana opened the 2015 hurricane season with a May 9 debut.


Satellite imagery as of 3:15 p.m. Tuesday.


This year, Hurricane Alex formed Jan. 14, making it only the second January-born Atlantic hurricane on record.


Previous story: The ingredients are there for a tropical system to form up this Memorial Day weekend off the southeast coast, but  meteorologists cautioned this morning it’s still early to say for sure what to expect.

This forecast for Saturday shows the low pressure system developed off the coast of Florida in an inverted trough.

This forecast for Saturday shows the low pressure system developed off the coast of Florida in an inverted trough.

Forecasters at Weather Underground, AccuWeather and the Weather Channel agree a low pressure system will likely develop with tropical characteristics that will at the very least mean rain and stormy beach conditions for Florida through the Carolinas through the long weekend.

The National Hurricane Center has not yet identified an area to watch for possible tropical development.

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“An area of disturbed weather near the Bahamas may become a tropical depression or storm later this week, and may soak parts of the Southeast coast during the Memorial Day weekend,” wrote Chris Dolce in a Weather Underground blog. “To be clear, we are not saying that a tropical or subtropical depression or storm will develop just days before the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season. But this situation is being monitored closely.”

Areas near the Bahamas and in the Gulf of Mexico are where forecasters watch for early-season storms. The hurricane season begins June 1 and runs through November.

Last year, Tropical Storm Ana formed up May 9 off the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina. In 2012, tropical storms Alerberto and Beryl both formed in May.

Tropical systems are characterized by warm cores that can generate power over long distances, but that doesn’t mean they always become hurricanes.

“Even in absence of a full-blown tropical storm or hurricane, downpours and thunderstorms will increase over the region from the Bahamas westward to the southern Atlantic coast of the U.S. later this weekend into next week,” AccuWeather senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski wrote. “In addition, surf conditions would get increasingly rough from the eastern Florida coast to North Carolina.”

Beach, boating and cruise interests in the region should monitor the situation.

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