Friday, May 8, 2015

Hello Ana!

The first named tropical system of the year was declared late Thursday night off the South Carolina coast. Hurricane hunter planes identified maximum winds of 45 mph, well above the 39 mph threshold used to give such closed circulations a name.

The system is called sub-tropical due in part to the cool air aloft, as opposed to a tropical system which has a warm core above it. The system is also "cut off" from the main jet stream steering winds so it's in no hurry to go anywhere. That will mean a windy and squally weekend anywhere from Charleston to North Carolina's outer banks. A tropical storm watch is in effect from Edisto Beach South Carolina to Cape Lookout North Carolina.

Here's the official forecast from the National Hurricane Center, indicating Ana could come inland late Sunday night:

The familiar "cone of uncertainty" highlighted in light blue indicates the  possible variability of the track of Ana and the likely extend of the higher winds. Don't focus on the black line; it merely indicates where the center of the storm will travel. The impacts could be anywhere within the blue envelope. Additionally, Ana will cause increased swells, high waves and some minor coastal flooding as waters could rise anywhere from 1 to 2 feet.

The circulation is also fairly tight and is not expected to strengthen too much beyond its current values and isn't likely to become a hurricane.

Read more about the connection between early-forming storms and the rest of the season.

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