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Is Arlene a sign of an active Atlantic hurricane season to come?

By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
April 21, 2017, 11:47:43 AM EDT

Arlene formed over the Atlantic Ocean on Thursday afternoon and became the first tropical storm of 2017.

A tropical storm has winds ranging from 39 to 73 mph that rotate around a well-organized center which contains showers and thunderstorms.

Arlene, located about 1,000 miles west of the Azores, will not strengthen to a hurricane and is no threat to land. Arlene was no longer considered to be a tropical system as of Friday midday.

Static Arlene Friday morning

This is a live loop of the potential tropical storm over the central Atlantic. (NOAA/Satellite)


"The development of Arlene is an anomaly and will have no important bearing on how the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season unfolds," according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.

Similar to Hurricane Alex from January 2016, Arlene is well out of season.

AccuWeather is expecting 10 named storms, of which five may become hurricanes, during the 2017 hurricane season. The Atlantic hurricane season does not officially begin until June 1 and extends through Nov. 30.

Arlene began as a sub-tropical depression on Wednesday then became fully tropical in nature on Thursday morning.

A subtropical system has both warm season and cold season storm characteristics.

“Since Arlene was warmer than its surrounding environment, it was considered to be fully tropical in nature," Kottlowski said.

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"The development of a tropical storm from a non-tropical system in the Atlantic is rare but can happen given special atmospheric conditions during the spring and fall seasons," Kottlowski said.

There has been only one tropical storm on record during April from 1851 to 2016, according to the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory.

"Prior to 1972, there was no consistent and frequent satellite coverage to visualize systems over the middle of the Atlantic," Kottlowski said.

The only tropical storm on record to form during April was Ana in 2003.

The opportunity for "early Arlene" to strengthen into a hurricane has ended as the storm has begun to interact with a non-tropical storm sweeping in and cooler waters in the North Atlantic.

The old circulation from Arlene will meander over the middle of the Atlantic this weekend.

There is a remote chance for another subtropical system to develop in the same general area of the central Atlantic next week.

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