It may be hard to believe, but it appears there is a growing chance the second named tropical system will form in the western Atlantic off the Southeast U.S. coast BEFORE hurricane season officially begins on June 1 (next Friday). As of late Thursday evening, the National Hurricane Center was giving a disturbance centered near the Bahamas a 60 percent chance of becoming at least a tropical depression. Should it gain 40 mph surface winds and be determined to have a closed circulation either partially or entirely powered by evaporative energy from warm ocean waters, it would be named Beryl. The system’s movement is rather unclear, but the general idea is that it will dawdle a bit offshore and then get slowly nudged west into the Southeast over the weekend or early next week, where it could be a big help for extreme drought in Georgia and South Carolina. For our weather, Beryl has the potential to add some more moisture and clouds to dampen the expected heat some, raise humidity levels and possibly trigger more showers and storms than we were expecting by late weekend or early next week.
I haven’t done exhaustive research on the topic, but the last time there were two named Atlantic storms before the start of hurricane season was in 2007, when Ana (a subtropical storm, with mixed tropical and non-tropical characteristics) formed on May 6 and Barry followed on May 31. To have two preseason named storms in a very similar region is extremely unusual, if not unprecedented.