While an area in the Eastern Pacific has yielded the first tropical cyclone of the 2012 season, the Caribbean could show some signs of life later this month.
A broad area of low pressure is expected to form very slowly in the area around Central America and the western Caribbean.
Folks living in the region around Central America to Cuba, Jamaica, The Bahamas and South Florida should not be overly concerned at this point.
Chances are this system will never become strong or well organized.
However, it could spread a swath of downpours over the region. Even a weak, disorganized system can produce clusters of heavy, gusty thunderstorms, which would be a problem for pleasure boaters, beach goers and fishing interests.
According to Tropical Weather Expert Dan Kottlowski, "This is likely to end up like about a dozen or so systems during the season that do not reach tropical storm status."
"The system will not have any tropical waves coming in from the east to give it a jump start, but a non-tropical feature arriving from the northwest next week may just help create a broad area of low pressure or gyre," Kottlowski added.
We are in a neutral phase of the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO). This is the fluctuation of sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean.
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When the tropical Pacific surface water is warmer than average, it is considered an El Nino, When it is cooler than average it is considered La Nina.
During an El Nino, (warm water phase) air tends to rise over the tropical Pacific Ocean, supporting the formation of tropical cyclones. Correspondingly, air tends to sink over the Atlantic, working against the formation of tropical cyclones.
It tends to work just the opposite during a La Nina phase of the ENSO.
"Since we are in a neutral phase, we should not expect any substantial interference or gain at this point of the season by the ENSO," Kottlowski said.
The start of the Atlantic hurricane season is not until June 1, but tropical storms have formed as early as January and February with hurricanes as early as March.
This story was first published on Friday, May 11, 2012 and has been updated.
Several storms will bring periods of rain and gusty winds to the west coast of the United States next week with the potential for one of these to reach Southern California.
Colder weather, and in some cases, a taste of winter with snow will continue to invade the northeastern United States this weekend.
Dry weather set to dominate the southern United States into November will only worsen the already extreme drought conditions.
The changing of the seasons will bring beneficial rainfall to northern Brazil, a region that has experienced severe drought over the past several years.
Rain will continue to cause travel delays and raise the risk of isolated flooding in parts of the northeastern United States and Atlantic Canada into Saturday evening.
Damaging storms pounded the Pacific Northwest, while two powerful typhoons struck the Philippines within a four-day span.
Hurricane Juan kills more than 200 and results in $1.5 billion in damages.
Tuscaloosa, AL (1994)
Lightning struck during Alabama-Mississippi football game. 3 people were injured.
Kansas City, MO (1996)
6.5" of snow. 8 million dollars damage from downed trees and powerlines.