The National Hurricane Center says an area of low pressure is likely to form along the coast of North Carolina on Wednesday, with conditions that could support tropical formation thereafter.
There is a 10 percent chance of something tropical forming over the next 48 hours and a 20 percent chance over the next five days.
According to forecasters, the area of low pressure could form along a stationary front near the coast and then move east or northeast away from the U.S.
If the system becomes a tropical storm, it would be named Beryl.
While early hurricane predictions called for a slightly above average hurricane season, that’s been called into question with the possible emergence of El Niño in the fall.
An El Niño watch issued last week put the world on alert that the capricious climate pattern with a global sway on weather is likely to make an appearance this fall or winter.
For Florida, the periodic warming of the equatorial Pacific Ocean can mean a less active hurricane season with fewer powerhouse Cat 5 tropical cyclones. But it also leans toward stormier days during the darkest part of the year when the Sunshine State typically enjoys its dry season.
Scientists said this week not to count either scenario as certain, but the evidence of an awakening El Niño was enough for the Climate Prediction Center to trigger the watch.
“The issue for the hurricanes is does El Niño develop in time and with sufficient strength to suppress the later part of the season,” said Gerry Bell, the lead seasonal hurricane forecaster for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “Conditions are evolving more toward an El Niño right now, but there is sill a long way to go.”