The first named tropical storm of the 2019 Atlantic season could form late Monday or Monday night, according to a special bulletin from the National Hurricane Center. The low-pressure system is a few hundred miles southwest of Bermuda.
Currently dubbed “Disturbance 1,” the system has a 70% chance of developing into a tropical storm over the next 48 hours, the weather agency said in an update at 1:30 p.m. ET. The NHC says rain and thunderstorms inside the system are “showing signs of organization.”
If its winds reach 39 mph and higher, the young storm would be called Andrea — the first name on the 2019 list that’s maintained by the World Meteorological Organization.
“An Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft is currently en route to investigate the disturbance,” the NHC says.
The storm would likely devolve on Wednesday as it runs into a cold front over the ocean, the NHC says. But the system that’s currently dubbed “Disturbance 1” is still drawing attention, as it forced the weather agency to issue a special alert over the weekend — some two weeks before the hurricane season officially begins on June 1.
The system could become “a short-lived subtropical or tropical cyclone later today or tonight,” the Miami-based hurricane center says.
Despite expectations that the storm will likely fade as it moves north and northeast, the hurricane center is advising people on the island of Bermuda to keep an eye on the system.
It’s not rare for a named storm to form ahead of the June 1 hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.
Last year’s first named storm was Tropical Storm Alberto, which formed in the Gulf of Mexico on May 25. The storm struck the Florida Panhandle on Memorial Day, with drenching rains and winds topping 65 mph.
Despite that early start, the first hurricane of 2018 didn’t form until early July, when Beryl took shape in the far eastern Caribbean Sea.
In addition to jumping the gun on the hurricane season, the likely tropical storm is also developing before the National Hurricane Center has had a chance to release its forecast outlook for the 2019 Atlantic season. That report is slated to come out on Thursday.