Hurricane season in the Atlantic does not technically start until June 1, but forecasters with the National Hurricane Center in Miami say a system in the central Atlantic Ocean will likely become the first named storm of the year.
Forecasters give the system a 70 percent chance of turning into a tropical storm by Thursday or Friday, according to the hurricane center. Forecasters say the system is moving north-northeast at about 8 mph and will likely be short lived as it heads toward the Azores.
Researchers at N.C. State University this week released predictions for this year’s hurricane season, forecasting a “normal” season with 11 to 15 named storms in the Atlantic basin, which includes the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.
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Professor Lian Xie said four to six of the named storms may grow into hurricanes. He used more than 100 years of historical weather data to make his predictions.
Arlene would be the sixth named storm in the past six years to form before the official start of hurricane season. There were two early season storms last year – Alex in January and Bonnie in late May.
Duncan: 919-829-4880, @duncanreporting