Tropical Storm Arlene has formed in the Atlantic, the first named storm of the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season. While the season doesn’t officially start until June 1, storms do happen from time to time in off-season months. Arlene is the 5th time in recorded history that a tropical cyclone formed in the Atlantic basin in April. 2016 also had an unusual start to the hurricane season; Hurricane Alex formed in January then, kicking-off the hurricane season extra-early.
Satellite imagery indicates that the convection around the center of the storm has become more symmetric. AMSU data this morning showed that the system had developed a warm, albeit, weak core; as such, the subtropical depression was identified as tropical depression. But with maximum sustained winds now in excess of 39mph in the system, the National Hurricane Center has upgraded Tropical Depression to Tropical Storm status, which entitles it to a name., While the Atlantic Hurricane Season officially starts on June 1, storms that exist anytime after January 1 are given a name from that year’s list. The first name on the list for this season is Arlene.
In the 5:00 PM update from the National Hurricane Center, the center of Tropical Storm Arlene was located near latitude 37.7 North, longitude 42.0 West. Arlene is moving toward the west-northwest near 25 mph and this general motion is expected to continue until dissipation on Friday. Maximum sustained winds are near 45 mph with higher gusts.
Tropical Storm Arlene is forecast to have a very brief life. The tropical storm is forecast to be absorbed by a larger extratropical low tomorrow. Once the Arlene becomes absorbed into that non-tropical system, the National Hurricane Center will cease to issue advisories on the system. Arlene’s entire lifespan will occur over the open waters of the central Atlantic; only shipping lanes could be impacted by the storm. Arlene is of no threat to the United States or any other landmass.
Leading hurricane forecasters believe this season will be slightly less active than normal; however, they also stress that it takes just one storm to create significant loss of life and property. A storm appearing early in the season …or before the season officially begins… does not necessarily translate to an active or especially dangerous hurricane season.
While Arlene spins about in the Atlantic, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the United States Air Force is planning a Hurricane Hunter Tour along the east coast of the United States and Canada. The purpose of the tour is to establish links with local communities and raise awareness of threats from tropical cyclones and the dangers of being caught without a personal hurricane plan.