First Named Storm of the Season – Tropical Storm Arthur – Heads for NC Coast

National Hurricane Center Official Forecast for Tropical Storm Arthur

Hurricane season does not officially start until June 1, but the first named storm of the season is arriving early — Tropical Storm Arthur is expected to graze or even come ashore along North Carolina’s Outer Banks later today.  Ironically, the Outer Banks hotels have just begun to re-open and now the storm is heading their way — “pouring salt” in their COVID wounds since most businesses had been closed since March and were looking forward to the start of the busy tourist season.  Arthur is not expected to become a hurricane, but it will have 60 mph winds as it approaches the Carolina coast.

Why This Matters:  The state of North Carolina has been battered by storms over the last few years.  The western part of the state may get the worst of it this time, with heavy rainfall and flash flooding predicted there for Tuesday And the hurricane season start date seems to be shifting — it is increasingly common to see the first named storm in the “pre-season” time period — it has happened each year since 2015.  We hope the President does not take a sharpie to this storm forecast.

The Storm Could Worsen

The storm is set to pass through the Gulf Stream, the current that brings warm water from the Gulf of Mexico into the Atlantic.  As Arthur passes across the relatively warm waters of the Gulf Stream, there is a narrow possibility for the storm to strengthen, according to CNN. As with the Gulf of Mexico, ocean water temperatures in the Atlantic are above average everywhere in the Atlantic except in the very northern Atlantic.  Also because of the weather pattern currently in place, if Arthur slows or stalls well offshore, it will bring heavy winds, waves and rip currents, coastal flooding, and beach erosion along the coast from Delaware to Massachusetts during much this week.

Very Active Season Predicted

According to CNN, more than a dozen early forecasts already published, and the general consensus is that the Atlantic is in for an active season.   The official forecast is due this week — it will be announced on Thursday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  There are several warning signs that are leading to greater agreement than usual that the season will be a very active one.  The first one is warm ocean water — this year the ocean “temperatures across much of the Atlantic are running well above normal and have been for the past few months.”   There are more than a dozen hurricane season forecasts out already, and most are predicting an above-average year, with more than six hurricanes this season or even more than nine full-fledged hurricanes.

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