Two weeks before the official start to Atlantic hurricane season, Tropical Storm Arthur has become the first named storm of the year.
Two US Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft are scheduled to investigate this system on Sunday to determine how organized the storm is and whether or not it is intensifying.
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Rip currents will be the main concern in the short term for areas of northeastern Florida through North Carolina coast.
“Interests near the North Carolina coast should closely monitor the progress of this system, as it could produce gusty winds and heavy rains there on Monday,” says the National Hurricane Center. Currently, tropical storm warnings are in effect from Surf City to Duck, North Carolina. A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected within the next 36 hours.
We are also monitoring a frontal system that is draped from the Great Lakes down to the Gulf Coast that is bringing flooding and severe storms to those areas because as this system tracks east it will also begin to interact with Tropical Storm Arthur.
“Arthur could get pushed out to sea, or Arthur could get enveloped by the frontal system and essentially combine with it,” explains Haley Brink, meteorologist.
“Depending on how fast this frontal system moves east could help push Arthur out to sea and farther away from the US. However, there is also a high pressure system to the north which could affect the steering of Arthur, perhaps bringing it farther inland.”
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Warm Gulf Stream Waters
Currently, the storm is located in unfavorable water temperatures for any major intensification. However, as it moves across the relatively warm waters of the Gulf Stream, a narrow window of opportunity will be given for the storm to strengthen. Sea surface temperatures continue to remain above average across the Atlantic — except for the cooler North Atlantic.
The tropics are heating up around the world
Areas of the Pacific Ocean have also had an interesting start to their tropical season.
On April 25, Tropical Depression One-E formed south of Mexico’s Baja California region, marking the first tropical depression on record in the month of April for the Eastern Pacific Ocean.
This is in contrast to the Western Pacific, which just had its eighth latest start to a tropical season since 1950.
The official Atlantic seasonal forecast doesn’t come from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration until May 21. But there are more than a dozen early forecasts already published and the general consensus is that the Atlantic is in for an active season.