Subtropical System in Atlantic Ocean Catches the Eyes of Hurricane Watchers

Posted: May 20, 2021 12:22 pm

What is in Store for the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season?

The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season is still a week and a half away, however, forecasters are already keeping their eyes on a potential area of development. While the area is nothing to be particularly concerned about at this stage, hurricane watchers warn that it could develop into an organized subtropical system in the next few days.

Image provided by NOAA
Image provided by NOAA

Latest Development

The latest developing feature is currently centered over the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. While it is now considered to be non-tropical, it is not out of the question that this area of concern will take on tropical characteristics. This will only happen if it moves into waters with temperatures that are warm enough to support this development. If the development continues, it will earn a name from the National Hurricane Center (NHC), making it the first of the season in the Atlantic basin.

Forecasted Track

This feature is predicted to move slowly in a westward direction and slightly to the southwest in the coming days. As the weekend approaches, it is forecast to move to the north. If the feature does indeed follow this projected path, it will come close to Bermuda by the weekend.

Any development of tropical characteristics will most likely happen Friday into Saturday night. If the system does not become more organized as it continues its track, the worst that will hit Bermuda will likely be windy conditions with rain. The heaviest rains and winds will stay northeast of the land.

However, if the system begins to move into the warmer water temperatures located to the southwest of Bermuda, it may begin to develop more tropical characteristics and threaten the land in the process.

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Regardless of how it affects Bermuda, the system is not expected to bring any weather of significance to the US. The feature will move to the north and not come close to the US coastline.

The first name up for grabs on the official 2021 tropical storm list is Ana.

Getting Prepared for Anything

Although the official start to the season is not until June 1, 2020 taught us that the Atlantic basin should be ready for just about anything. The record-setting 2020 hurricane season got off with a bang with two tropical systems taking root prior to the start of June 1. Tropical Storm Arthur formed in the Atlantic Ocean southeast of Florida at the early date of May 16. Less than two weeks later, Tropical Storm Bertha formed in the western Atlantic just off the coast of Georgia on May 27. Bertha ended up making landfall near Isle of Palms, South Carolina, only a few short hours after forming, causing dangerous rip currents and flash flooding in the region.

The early May 2020 tropical storms ended up being a harbinger of things to come for this corner of the world. The season saw 30 named systems, including 11 tropical systems that made landfall in the US. There were so many storms that the NHC was forced to lean on the Greek alphabet to name the last nine systems.

What is Ahead for 2021?

The news of this new area of concern begs the question of it is a sign of another busy hurricane season. While most forecasters agree that 2021 will be another active tropical weather season, it is not expected to reach 2020 levels of activity.

There is the possibility of over 20 named storms in the Atlantic basin for 2021. There are up to five anticipated impacts to the mainland US in the months to come.