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2020 Hurricane Season Could Start Early

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According to The Weather Channel, a subtropical depression or storm could form off the Southeast Coast this weekend. 

Hurricane season could get off to an early start this weekend with a system off the Southeast coast, but before that happens, Florida's Atlantic coast will see bad beach and boating conditions. Meteorologist Heather Tesch explains. 

Florida, Bahamas Rain, Waves

Parts of Florida will see bad beach conditions and increasing rain chances through Friday before the subtropical depression or storm organizes.

Clockwise flow around high near Bermuda will bring an east wind flow to Florida's Atlantic coast.

Those gusty onshore winds will likely create dangerous rip currents and high surf along much of Florida's eastern coast. The National Weather Service in Miami is warning that there is a high risk of rip currents at South Florida beaches through at least Friday morning. This rip current threat should spread north along Florida's Atlantic beaches through the weekend as the system gains steam.

Parts of South Florida and the Florida Keys will see occasional thunderstorms with locally heavy downpours through Friday, where an inch or more of rain is possible before drier air moves in behind the system later in the weekend.

The heaviest rain from the system, though, is expected to fall over the Bahamas through Friday or Saturday.

Where "It" May Track

Once the depression or storm forms, it is then expected to track toward northeast, with its center remaining off the East Coast, tracking somewhere between Bermuda and the Outer Banks of North Carolina early next week.

It's too soon to determine the exact track, but the low may track close enough to bring some rain and gusty winds to the Outer Banks, possibly the Virginia Tidewater around Monday. After that, the low should turn farther out to sea. 

Despite this offshore track, the low is expected to bring at least elevated surf and rip currents to beaches from Florida to Georgia, the Carolinas, Virginia Tidewater, and possibly farther north up the Eastern Seaboard early this weekend into next week.

It could also bring some coastal flooding at high tide in some of these areas.

Preseason Storms Have Been Common Lately...

This potential development off the Southeast coast is another example of how depressions and storms can sometimes form before the hurricane season officially begins on June 1.

Since 2015, at least one named storm has developed before June 1 each hurricane season, some of which had impacts in the United States and elsewhere in the Atlantic Basin.

Last May, Subtropical Storm Andrea formed southwest of Bermuda the week before Memorial Day, but only lasted about 24 hours.

In 2018, Tropical Storm Alberto made a Memorial Day landfall along the Florida Panhandle, remained intact and took a strange track into Lower Michigan before losing its tropical characteristics.

Tropical Storm Arlene developed even earlier than Alberto and, in 2017, became only the second April Atlantic tropical storm of record.

Perhaps 2016 was the strangest early start to an Atlantic season in recent memory.

Tropical Storm Bonnie soaked the coast of the Carolinas in late-May 2016. But that was preceded by eastern Atlantic Hurricane Alex, only the second known January Atlantic hurricane. Alex eventually made landfall in the Azores as a tropical storm.

In 2015, Tropical Storm Ana made the second-earliest U.S. landfall of at least a tropical storm on record on Mother's Day weekend along the coast of the Carolinas.

This early start also happened in 2012 (Alberto, then Beryl in May), 2008 (Arthur), 2007 (another Subtropical Storm Andrea) and 2003 (another Ana, this time in April). Beryl nearly became a hurricane before coming ashore near Jacksonville Beach, Florida, on Memorial Day weekend 2012.

Nine of 17 years from 2003 through 2019 had at least one named storm before June 1, and there were a total of 11 out-of-season named storms during that time. The majority of these developed and meandered, or made landfall along the coast from North Carolina to northeastern Florida.

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