It’s not even May yet and already some of the computer models are beginning to sniff something foul in the Atlantic for next week. While any potential system will remain well away from Texas, any mention of something tropical wreaks in the nostrils of us all.
It’s not unheard of to get a tropical system to spin up in the Atlantic in May. They’ve even been known to spin up in April as we saw with Tropical Storm Arlene just last year! Instances like these are pretty rare.
Something however has caught my eye over the last 48 hours or so. The GFS, Canadian and even the Euro to an extent show some sort of low pressure area forming well east of the Carolinas and north of the Bahamas.
Currently the National Center for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) gives this a 30% shot at development in the 120 to 240 hour time frame — essentially around May 7th or so, give or take. Of note, the National Hurricane Center has no mention of any such system but I’ll continue to check in with them just to be sure.
I want to emphasize that there is a much better chance of nothing happening than of something actually developing here.
Any system that would form would likely be an extra-tropical system — a fancy way of saying an organized area of low pressure that really isn’t fully tropical. Some meteorologists would say that it’s a waste of a name. These systems are almost always weak, too.
In fact, nearly every single system that has developed this early in decades past have remained very weak, with only three systems in May becoming hurricanes since 1900. Those were a storm in 1908, Hurricane Able (1951) and Hurricane Alma (1970).
While this entire article is probably being written about a big nothing-burger, it does serve as a reminder that the start of the Atlantic 2018 hurricane season is just around the corner.
If a system does end up forming, the name given would be Alberto.
Hurricane season runs June 1st – November 30th.