Mainstream media has already picked up on a tropical formation
Despite the recently declared El Nino, known for inhibiting tropical activity, the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season got off to an early start last week with the development of Tropical Storm Ana. Forming on the 8th of May, Ana, as Ana before her (2003) is one of the earliest tropical storm formations for the Atlantic, with the hurricane season only officially starting on June 1st.
Models picked up on the development early and some were initially quite bullish on development and strength. As with most early developments the storm was not the result of a tropical wave moving off Africa, but instead was a ‘home brew’, forming from a non-tropical low pressure system. Ana then began to develop into what was initially a sub-tropical storm, before moving towards the border of North and South Carolina and over the warm Gulf Stream. On 9 May, due to the warm waters that Ana was over, she transitioned into a fully tropical storm and winds reached a maximum of 60mph.
Early storm development cannot be used to determine whether a season will be active or not, and hurricane season lulls can appear even after an early start. The development of Ana will however no doubt, get some of the hurricane trackers excited about what may come. Expectations are low this season with the forecast El Nino and last year being exceptionally quiet in terms of tropical activity. In the short term, the long range GFS model is mostly quiet with the exception of a possible storm off the east coast towards the end of the run, though anything over the 200 hour mark is definitely within the ‘fantasy land’ range.