All Weather News

Odds Increasing of Atlantic’s First Named Storm

ana forming

On Sunday, we first mentioned the possibility of the season’s first tropical system forming. Now, it appears that Ana could become the season’s first tropical – or, perhaps, subtropical – system of the year, far earlier than usual.

On Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) increased the odds of an area of low pressure off the Florida coast of developing into a named storm from 30 to 40 percent over the next five days. The NHC will send in an aircraft to further investigate the system on Wednesday afternoon. If it were to be named (it would need sustained winds of 39 miles-an-hour or greater to be named as a tropical storm), it would be called Ana – but it could also be classified as a subtropical storm, or one with both tropical and non-tropical characteristics. Typically, tropical systems are “warm-cored”, but subtropical storms, including Sandy in 2012, can have a “cold core”, or a cold pocket of air aloft, making it more similar in structure to a regular area of low pressure.

The models are still in disagreement over both the timing and exact track, but it appears at this point that the low will drift to the northwest from its current position north of the Bahamas, eventually hitting the coastline of North or South Carolina on Wednesday night or Thursday. Interests from Jacksonville, Florida north to Elizabeth City, North Carolina should keep a close eye on the projected path of this system.

The primary hazards will be heavy rain and wind along with locally strong surf, mostly on the Carolina coastline. Impacts will be similar to that of a strong nor’easter, although the potentially slow movement of the storm could lead to flash flooding as a prime hazard, especially for the northern South Carolina coastline and the outer banks of North Carolina, depending on the system’s exact track. Some areas could end up with over three inches of rain from this system, although a widespread 1-3″ is more likely.

Winds gusts could approach 40-50 miles-an-hour in spots and surf and small craft advisories are already in place across much of the Florida, Georgia and South Carolina Atlantic coastline.

Hurricane season in the Atlantic basin doesn’t officially begin until June 1 (it lasts through November), but May tropical cyclones aren’t completely out of the ordinary, with the last one developing in 2008.

Stay with WeatherNation and www.WeatherNationTV.com as we continue to track this system.

Meteorologist Chris Bianchi

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