Story at a glance

  • The first named storm of 2021 appeared on Saturday, more than a week before the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season.
  • Storms in May normally form near the eastern Gulf of Mexico, the western Caribbean Sea or the Southeastern coast of the United States.
  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recorded a record-breaking 30 named storms in 2020.

The first named storm of 2021 appeared on Saturday, more than a week before the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season. 

The formation of Ana, a subtropical storm that is different from typical tropical storms that depend on warm water to develop, marks the seventh consecutive year a named storm has formed prior to June 1, CNN reported

"The system is considered a subtropical cyclone rather than a tropical cyclone since it is still entangled with an upper-level low as evident in water vapor satellite images, but it does have some tropical characteristics as well," according to the National Hurricane Center.


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There have been pre-season named storms in the past six years, but Ana’s addition to the group is distinct for another reason. Storms in May normally form near the eastern Gulf of Mexico, the western Caribbean Sea or the Southeastern coast of the United States, CNN reported. But subtropical storm Ana is distinct because it formed in the Atlantic. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recorded a record-breaking 30 named storms in 2020. NOAA reported that 2020 was the fifth consecutive year with an “above-normal” hurricane season. There have been 18 “above-normal” seasons out of the last 26. 

“As we correctly predicted, an interrelated set of atmospheric and oceanic conditions linked to the warm AMO were again present this year. These included warmer-than-average Atlantic sea surface temperatures and a stronger west African monsoon, along with much weaker vertical wind shear and wind patterns coming off of Africa that were more favorable for storm development. These conditions, combined with La Nina, helped make this record-breaking, extremely active hurricane season possible,” said Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. 


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Published on May 27, 2021