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First named storm could form, Bermuda still on storm watch

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Photograph courtesy of the Bermuda Weather Service
A subtropical storm is expected to form several hundred miles off Bermuda over the weekend (www.NOAA.gov)

The first named storm of the year could form to the east-northeast of Bermuda over the weekend - more than a week before the official start of the season on June 1, the National Hurricane Centre reported today.

The centre said this morning that there is a non-tropical low pressure system 300 miles off the island which has an 90 per cent chance of forming into a subtropical cyclone by the end of the weekend.

If it forms into a subtropical storm, it will be named Ana.

The NHC said this afternoon: “Showers and thunderstorms associated with a non-tropical low pressure area centred about 300 miles northeast of Bermuda have diminished somewhat over the past several hours, and the system has not yet acquired subtropical storm characteristics.

“However, the low is producing gale-force winds, and any increase in organisation would result in advisories being initiated on the system later today or tonight as it moves westward to west-southwestward to the northeast of Bermuda.

“Subsequently, the low is forecast to move northeastward into a more hostile environment by Saturday night or Sunday.”

Today the Bermuda Weather Service added an update which said: “The US National Hurricane Centre are not quite ready to initiate advisories on the system northeast of Bermuda, as it does not (yet) meet the thresholds for a subtropical or tropical storm to be classified.

“Given the uncertainty about this prediction, Bermuda remains under a Tropical Storm Watch, alerting mariners and the general public to the potential for northerly 35 knot winds and very rough seas, as the system drifts closer to the island today. Stay up to date by checking www.weather.bm.”

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Centre has forecasters predicting a 60 per cent chance of an above-normal season in the Atlantic region, a 30 per cent chance of a near-normal season, and a 10 per cent chance of a below-normal season.

Its report said: “However, experts do not anticipate the historic level of storm activity seen in 2020,” the report said.

The centre is predicting 13 to 20 named storms, six to 10 hurricanes and three to five major hurricanes.

According to NOAA’s statistics, an average hurricane season will see 14 named storms, of which seven become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.

Matthew Rosencrans, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at the Climate Prediction Center, said: “Predicted warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds, and an enhanced west African monsoon will likely be factors in this year’s overall activity.”

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Published May 21, 2021 at 12:32 pm (Updated May 21, 2021 at 5:07 pm)

First named storm could form, Bermuda still on storm watch

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