TAMPA, Fla. - The official start of hurricane season is still nearly three weeks away, but forecasters are already monitoring an area east of Florida for potential tropical development.
The National Weather Service issued a special weather statement Tuesday morning regarding a low-pressure system sitting northeast of the Bahamas. They say it has about a 50-percent chance of developing further over the next five days as it moves away from Florida.
“Environmental conditions appear conducive for this system to acquire some subtropical characteristics as it moves northeastward through Sunday,” the forecast explained.
The system is not expected to have any impacts on Florida.
Pre-season tropical systems are not unusual. Last year, Subtropical Storm Andrea formed on May 20. In 2018, Alberto made landfall in the Florida Panhandle as a strong tropical storm on May 28. And in 2017, Tropical Storm Arlene formed in April before dissipating in the Atlantic.
While such early-forming storms have no bearing on later activity in the season, most forecasters agree that 2020 will likely see an average to above-average number of hurricanes. Warmer-than-normal water temperatures and a lack of a shearing El Nino pattern are the two main reasons cited by Dr. Philip Klotzbach, a specialist in Atlantic basin hurricane forecasts.
With that forecast in mind, emergency planners in Florida are currently working to modify hurricane preparation plans to account for the COVID-19 pandemic.