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Tropical wave forms weeks before hurricane season begins June 1

 This image from the National Hurricane Center shows the tropical wave to the far right, with Florida in the upper-left corner
National Hurricane Center
This image from the National Hurricane Center shows the tropical wave to the far right, with Florida in the upper-left corner

The National Hurricane Center in Miami is tracking the first tropical wave over the eastern Atlantic Ocean a full three weeks before hurricane season begins June 1.

Initially the tropical wave showed medium-to-strong convection, which is the transfer of energy from the ocean into the disturbance. On Monday, the hurricane center said its latest satellite imagery showed scattered and moderate convection to the east of the wave, weak and isolated convection west of the wave.

The wave is moving westward at about 23 miles per hour. Forecasters said the weakening wave will move westward during the next two days passing south of the Cabo Verde Islands.

Forecasters say it is too early to predict whether the wave will strengthen and form into a tropical system. If it does, its name will be Alex.

The early tropical wave comes as the hurricane center is already considering whether it should move the start date of the Atlantic hurricane season forward by two weeks. In each of the past seven years named storms have formed in May. Last year, it was Anna. In 2020, there were two: Arthur and Bertha.

AccuWeather forecasters predicted in late March that there is a high chance for a preseason storm to develop -- and just like last year it will portend another unusually active tropical season.

AccuWeather’s team of tropical weather forecasters, which is led by hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski, is once again predicting an above-normal season in terms of tropical activity in the Atlantic, as well as a higher-than-normal chance that a major hurricane could make landfall in the mainland United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Kottlowski’s team is forecasting 16 to 20 named storms, which is more than the average of 14, and six-to-eight hurricanes with about half of those predicted to be major hurricanes with winds exceeding 111 mph or higher.

Last year, the 21 named storms included seven hurricanes and four major hurricanes. Eight of those storms made a direct impact on the U.S. Four to six direct impacts are predicted for 2022.

The names for the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season are Alex, Bonnie, Colin, Danielle, Earl, Fiona, Gaston, Hermine, Ian, Julia, Karl, Lisa, Martin, Nicole, Owen, Paula, Richard, Shary, Tobias, Virginie, and Walter.

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Tom Bayles