BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Hurricane season officially began on Thursday, and we already have a tropical system out in the Gulf. A Hurricane Hunter recon plane flew through the disturbance early Friday and found maximum sustained winds at the surface of 40 mph. This prompted the National Hurricane Center to upgrade the former tropical depression to Tropical Storm Arlene.
While this may be the first named storm, it is the second storm overall of the season. An unnamed subtropical storm formed in the Atlantic basin just off the coast of New England in January.
Arlene is not expected to last long as it drifts south toward Cuba by the weekend. The storm is battling strong wind shear (winds increasing with height), which is displacing most of the storm activity to the northeast of the center of circulation. As the storm continues south, the environment becomes even more unfavorable, and Arlene is forecast to weaken to a remnant low before Cuba.
No impacts are expected here in Louisiana, but heavy rainfall and gusty winds are possible over the Florida Peninsula.
NOAA forecasts a near-average season this year with 12-17 named storms, 5-9 hurricanes, and 1-4 major hurricanes. Regardless of how many named storms there are, be prepared this season as it only takes one landfalling storm to make it a busy season. Hurricane season runs through November 30.