Storm Arthur: First named storm of 2020 could form this weekend in US

Graig Graziosi
The weather system that could potentially become Tropical Storm Arthur: National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration

Hurricane season may kick off early, with the potential for the year's first named storm to form off the coast of Florida and the Bahamas.

Tropical (or, potentially, Subtropical) Storm Arthur, as it will be called if conditions develop into a named storm system - has a 70 per cent chance of forming over the next five days, according to the US National Hurricane Center.

In order for a tropical storm to become a hurricane, it has to establish a warm core, which then must intensify into hurricane-force winds.

Hurricane season usually begins on 1 June, but the storm season is starting early this year due in part to the above-average temperatures across the Atlantic ocean. In addition to its early start, meteorologists are predicting this year will have an especially active hurricane season, with most expecting more than six named hurricanes, and some meteorologists predicting more than nine.

The Orlando Sentinel reported that Floridians aren't likely to be overly affected by the storm. Speaking to Jayme King, a meteorologist for local news station Fox 35, the paper reported that Floridians can expect a 40 to 50 per cent chance of rain on Friday near Orlando, with heavier rainfall in the south of the state.

In addition to heavy rain, dangerous surf and tropical-storm force winds - 39-73mph (34 to 63 knots) - are expected.

John Cangialosi, a senior hurricane specialist with the National hurricane Center, described the system's course to the publication.

"Environmental conditions appear conducive for gradual development of this system, and a subtropical depression or storm is likely to form this weekend while it moves northeastward over the western Atlantic," Mr Cangialosi said.

The Atlantic water is likely still too cool for Tropical Storm Arthur to become a full fledged hurricane.

If Arthur does form, this will mark the sixth consecutive year that a storm has formed before 1 June. So long as seasonal average temperatures continue to rise in the Atlantic as they have been, hurricane season will continue to start nearly a month before it is scheduled.

Read more

Hurricane Katrina's legacy haunts Louisiana's fight against pandemic