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Following Alvin, the Eastern Pacific's first hurricane of 2019, more tropical storms may soon follow

By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
June 28, 2019, 9:06:13 AM EDT

While the formation of the first tropical storm of the Eastern Pacific hurricane season came much later than average, Alvin, will likely be the first in a series of tropical systems into early July.

Alvin was upgraded to a hurricane when it was determined that the storm contained sustained winds of 75 mph on Thursday evening. Alvin maintained hurricane status for about six hours Thursday night, before slipping back to tropical storm strength.

Alvin is not expected to directly threaten land, but rather continue on a west to northwest path.

Alvin 7 am Track

"Alvin had just enough of the right conditions Thursday to allow the storm to strengthen from a tropical storm to a hurricane," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Matt Rinde.

Strong wind shear over the region had suppressed tropical development until early on Thursday. However, that shear began to weaken, opening up the window for Alvin to become a hurricane.

This shear is likely part of the reason for the delay in the formation of the first tropical storm this season, which officially began back on May 15.

Two years share the same date for the record latest start to the Eastern Pacific hurricane season during the satellite era, which began in 1966.

In 2016, and decades earlier in 1969, the first named tropical systems formed on July 2. This system fell about a week short of that record.

Tropical depressions and the next phase of development, tropical storms, usually form as disturbances containing showers and thunderstorms move westward from Africa. These are known as tropical waves.

AccuWeather's 2019 East and Central Pacific hurricane season forecast
AccuWeather's 2019 Atlantic hurricane season forecast
Eastern Pacific satellite loop

The progress of tropical development in the Atlantic and Pacific basins is as follows: Tropical wave/disturbance to tropical depression to tropical storm to hurricane/typhoon to major hurricane/super typhoon.

"Tropical waves have been weak recently, but the wave that formed into Tropical Depression 1E and then Alvin was more robust," said AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.

The window of time that Alvin will remain robust and at hurricane status is likely to be short.

Alvin's track northwestward will bring the system into much cooler waters, and cause the system to dissipate this weekend, Rinde added.

However, conditions remain favorable for additional tropical trouble farther to the southeast in the region.

There is the potential for two more tropical storms to be born in the same general area of the Eastern Pacific, south of Mexico, in the wake of Alvin through the first week in July.

Of these, at least one has a chance at becoming a hurricane.

E Pac Long Range

The next two names on the list of tropical storms in the Eastern Pacific are Barbara and Cosme.

"Despite the late start to the 2019 Eastern Pacific hurricane season, this does not necessarily suggest how active the balance of the season will be," added Kottlowski.

AccuWeather meteorologists expect 20 to 22 named storms with 10 to 12 forecast to become hurricanes in the Eastern Pacific.

Meanwhile, farther to the east over the Atlantic Basin, conditions are likely to remain unfavorable for tropical depression and storm formation through the end of June.

Strong wind shear, as well as a vast amount of dry and dusty air, is present over the majority of the prime development areas in the Atlantic.

Atlantic Tropics Through End of June

Ongoing weak El Niño conditions are likely to somewhat inhibit tropical storm formation over the Atlantic, but may help to spur on development in the Eastern Pacific.

Ultimately, the strength of El Niño during the heart of the season in August, September and October, may determine the overall number of tropical storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes.

Even though close to an average season is forecast in terms of numbers of tropical storms and hurricanes for the Atlantic, the path any of these tropical systems take will be the most important factor for people to pay attention to.

Even during a well below-average hurricane season, all it takes is one storm to strike a heavily-populated area to put a great amount of lives and property at risk.

The Atlantic hurricane season began on June 1, and both the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific hurricane seasons continue through Nov. 30.

The first named storm of the 2019 season in the Atlantic Basin, Andrea, formed on May 20, southwest of Bermuda, and dissipated the next day.

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