Weeks ahead of schedule, the hurricane season's first tropical system could develop near Florida and the Bahamas this weekend, forecasters said Tuesday.
As of midday Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center said there's a 50% chance of development within the next five days. "An area of low pressure is expected to develop this weekend a couple hundred miles northeast of the Bahamas," the hurricane center said.
The official start to the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is June 1, although storms often form before that date, as they have in each of the past five years. The peak of the season is usually in September.
If the system gets a name it would be Tropical (or Subtropical) Storm Arthur. Subtropical storms are storms that have characteristics of both tropical and non-tropical weather systems.
Storms get a name when their winds reach 39 mph.
According to AccuWeather, the center of the system and most of its rain should stay east of the U.S. mainland, but there will be some impact from it reaching the beaches of the U.S. and perhaps more significant impact on the islands offshore.
Showers and thunderstorms may also occur over part of South Florida late this week as the system gets organized, AccuWeather said.
Although the system isn't likely to directly affect the U.S., the developing storm "is certainly a good reminder that hurricane season is around the corner and that preparation is necessary," wrote University of Georgia meteorologist Marshall Shepherd in Forbes.
Most hurricane forecasters are calling for an unusually active 2020 hurricane season. Top forecasters from Colorado State University said last month that 16 named tropical storms are expected to form, eight of which will become hurricanes.
An average season has 12 tropical storms, six of which are hurricanes.
Reasons for the expected active season include unusually warm seawater in the Atlantic Ocean and also the lack of an El Niño, which tends to suppress hurricane activity in the Atlantic.
Federal forecasters from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will issue their prediction for the 2020 season next week, the agency announced Tuesday.