Hurricane season doesn't officially begin for more than a week, but apparently Mother Nature is itching to get a head start. A system of tropical concern is already developing in the Atlantic, and it has the potential to develop into a tropical storm that could target Florida.
If it did, the system would be dubbed "Bonnie." The first storm of the season, Hurricane Alex, actually formed in January. It was the first tropical storm to develop in winter since 1978 and only the second January hurricane on record, but Alex didn't cause much commotion. It developed southwest of Bermuda and then blew out to sea without making landfall.
This storm, however, is brewing much closer to home. According to the Palm Beach Post, the system could escalate to storm status this week just south of the Bahamas. Meteorologists with Accuweather say that folks in Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, and the Bahamas should keep their eyes peeled.
“We think any development that would occur later this week will be slow with a tropical depression likely in the beginning,” meteorologist Andy Mussoline told the Post. “We have warm water, low wind shear. Something may show up as early as Thursday.”
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Of course, as anyone who has experienced a hurricane season or two knows the system could fizzle out into nothing.
Still, it's a good idea to check your personal hurricane-preparedness stash. Make sure you have batteries for flashlights, a fully stocked first-aid kit, and the like ready to go. Even if this storm doesn't turn into Bonnie, you'll be thankful you've got a head start if and when another storm threatens Florida later in the year.
Hurricane season doesn't officially kick off until June 1, and the most active months tend to be in late summer and early fall. However, storms forming before that official date aren't uncommon. Last year, Tropical Storm Ana formed May 8. In 2012, two systems — Tropical Storms Alberto and Beryl — developed before June.