Tropical Storm in January? Hurricane Center Watching the Atlantic
Wait a minute, residents of the Gulf South and Louisiana in particular should not have to worry about tropical weather systems for at least another 135 days. That's how far away the "official" start of Hurricane Season 2023 happens to be. But Mother Nature has never been one to really care what we think, she is doing her own thing. And right now her "thing" has tropical weather forecasters in observation mode.
The area of concern, we should point out, is of no threat whatsoever to Louisiana or the Gulf of Mexico in general. This system is located in the North Atlantic Ocean about 300 miles north of Bermuda or roughly 1,900 miles from Lafayette. As you can see in this graphic from the National Hurricane Center the system is well away from land and is not forecast to move that much over the next few days.
For a lot of us, a potential tropical system forming in the cold weather months is unheard of, but it does happen. The National Hurricane Center's archives suggest that there have been 91 different "off-season" storms since they've been keeping records.
The most likely months for tropical systems to form or attempt to form are May and December, the two months that bookend the official season dates of June 1st and November 30th. In recent memory, the Hurricane Seasons of 2005 and 2020 were particularly robust even after the official season had ended. So, out-of-season storms are not the norm but they do happen.
The Hurricane Center is giving this system a "near zero" chance of growing stronger as a tropical system. That doesn't mean it won't be or hasn't already been a weather maker. The circulation around the storm has created onshore flow in Maine and New England. This has created the potential for snow and ice in that part of the country. Again, conditions we don't normally associate with "tropical systems".
We won't start to see the seasonal forecasts for the 2023 Hurricane Season for a few more weeks. Those are usually released by various forecast operations in late March or early April with a more concise outlook refined and released just before Hurricane Season begins on June 1st.
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