June 1st marks the beginning of hurricane season. Typically, storms that form this early in the season do so in the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, or right along the eastern seaboard along the Gulf Stream.
Here are the points of origin for Atlantic Basin tropical cyclones in the month of June courtesy of The Weather Channel. Generally we see a tropical system form every other year in June and virtually none are east of the Leeward Islands (other than 2 that formed JUST east and southeast of Barbados).
Today I’ve been watching an exceptionally impressive tropical wave about 1000 miles southwest of the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of Africa. This system appears to be on the verge of becoming a tropical depression. If it does indeed develop into Tropical Storm Alex it would be the further east any June system has ever formed. Typically, we look off the coast of Africa for tropical cyclone formation in August and September – not June!
As I blogged about here extremely and record warm Atlantic water temperatures would likely lead to an early start to the season but I don’t think many people, myself included, expected this. Water temperatures over 80 degrees remain in the path of this storm so this will not be a mitigating factor for development.
Other conditions are favorable for development of this system including the lack of a SAL (Saharan Air Layer… or dry air which reduces tropical cyclone potential) and light wind shear over the storm which is unusual for the time of year.
The system, which is on the left, is showing some convection near the center, banding, and outflow in the northern, western, and southern quadrants which indicates light wind shear over that portion of the storm.
All in all it looks like an early start to the tropical season! Whatever develops is expected to move toward the Caribbean. Being able to develop a Cape Verde type storm in mid-June is unheard of and may spell trouble for the rest of the hurricane season.