Arthur would be yet another early tropical storm: Does hurricane season officially start too late?
Atlantic hurricane season officially begins June 1, but AccuWeather meteorologists are expecting the season to start a bit earlier. Accuweather
Another year, another "preseason" tropical storm.
Tropical (or Subtropical) Storm Arthur is likely to form over the next few days, the National Hurricane Center said Thursday, giving the system a 70% chance of development within the next five days.
The storm should form well off the Florida coast and spin out to sea. Although it won't directly impact the U.S., the storm will churn up some big waves at the beaches of the Southeast, AccuWeather said.
If Arthur develops, 2020 would mark the sixth consecutive year with a named storm in May, which is before the season's official start date of June 1.
In fact, “in every year since 2012, except for 2014, there has been at least one named tropical system during May,” AccuWeather senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.
Hurricane season: From Arthur to Wilfred, here's the list of hurricane names this year
Most of the May storms have tended to be weak and uneventful, with Tropical Storm Alberto in 2018 being a deadly exception. That storm, which hit 65 mph, killed 18 people in Cuba and the United States.
2019's Atlantic hurricane season was a busy one and AccuWeather's forecasters are anticipating another active season for 2020. Accuweather
Should the start of the hurricane season be pushed back to May 15 to accommodate these earlier storms? Colorado State University meteorologist Phil Klotzbach said no, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
“I don’t think it’s worth extending the hurricane season since the continental U.S. has never witnessed a hurricane landfall prior to June 1,” he told the paper.
Meanwhile, hurricane center spokesman Dennis Feltgen told USA TODAY that a named storm has formed between May 15 and May 30 in about half of the past 10 to 15 years, according to National Hurricane Center data."But, (the center) is also aware of the lack of any such activity during the second half of May in the preceding 30 years," Feltgen said in an email.
The hurricane center "is weighing the potential advantages and disadvantages of changing the official start date of the Atlantic hurricane season based on the possibility that the recent uptick in late May storms will continue," he said.
If it forms, Arthur might be a harbinger of an active Atlantic hurricane season, the Capital Weather Gang said. "Preseason forecasts are almost all predicting a substantially busier-than-normal season, with one forecast out of Pennsylvania State University calling for one of the stormiest seasons on record," the Gang's chief meteorologist Jason Samenow said this week.
Based on long-term trends, there is "no significant relationship" between the day of the first Atlantic named storm formation and seasonal Atlantic hurricane activity, according to Klotzbach.
The system that's forecast to become Arthur is already dumping heavy rain in Florida. As of midday Thursday, over 4 inches of rain had fallen in Marathon making it the city's fifth-wettest May day since records began in 1950, according to Weather Channel meteorologist Greg Diamond.
What's in store for hurricane season 2020: Forecasters expect 'above average' storm activity.
Florida is making plans to deal with sheltering and evacuations if COVID-19 lingers into the upcoming hurricane season. Accuweather