June Storms Raise Alarm for Atlantic Hurricane Season

By Joseph Ax and Steve Gorman.

Tropical Storm Bret is nearing the Caribbean, while a second system looks to be gathering strength behind it, providing an unusual amount of unsettling activity in the early weeks of the Atlantic hurricane season.

Bret formed Monday east of the Caribbean’s Leeward and Windward Islands, the furthest east and south a storm has formed in records going back to 1853, Phil Klotzbach, a seasonal hurricane forecaster at Colorado State University, said in a tweet. At 5 p.m. the system was 835 miles (1,344 kilometers) from the Windward Islands and had triggered tropical storm watches in Dominica and Barbados, the US National Hurricane Center said.

The area between the Caribbean and Cabo Verde islands off Africa is known as the main development region, but it typically doesn’t start producing strings of storms until mid-August. It’s where many of history’s most destructive storms were born and is therefore a focus of meteorologists.

With Bret on the map and another system with a 70% chance of developing into the year’s next storm trailing behind, the deep tropical Atlantic is already raging like it’s the height of hurricane season.

“The fact that the tropical Atlantic is active in June is alarming, and potentially indicated generally favorable conditions for more storms in the main development area through August,” Ryan Truchelut, president of commercial forecaster WeatherTiger LLC, said in an email interview.

The storm will likely reach the islands, known for their resort destinations, late Thursday or early Friday as a tropical storm. Earlier forecasts called for Bret to become a hurricane, but it appears wind shear and dry air will hold back its strength.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs June 1-Nov. 30.

Read more at gcaptain.com