A swirl of thunderstorms and clouds in the Florida Straits will likely become the first named Atlantic storm of 2020, which would mark a record sixth year in a row one formed before the official June 1 start of hurricane season.
The low pressure system, which could take the name Arthur, has a 70 percent chance of becoming either a tropical or sub-tropical storm in 48 hours and an 80 percent in five days as it moves northeast over the Bahamas, the US National Hurricane Center said late Thursday.
“Regardless of development, the disturbance will continue to bring heavy rainfall to portions of the Florida Keys, southeast Florida and the Bahamas through Saturday,” the center said in the statement. “Tropical-storm-force wind gusts are also possible.”
An Air Force Reserve plane will fly into the system Friday to gauge its strength and structure. A storm gets a name when its winds reach 39 miles (63 kilometers) per hour.
Many forecasters expect the 2020 Atlantic season to be active and exceed the long-term average of 12 storms. If the system is upgraded, if would also be the seventh time an early storm has formed since 2011.