Weather In-Depth: An early start to the tropics

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Did you know that the hurricane season officially started on June 1? This not a big deal for Rochester, but if you have any friends or family that live along the U.S. coast, you know they’re probably following what is happening in the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean.

In order to get development from one of these massive tropical storm systems, there are certain ingredients needed. First, the water temperature has to be near 80 degrees or higher. Second, it is necessary to have converging winds. This pushes the air upwards, and with enough moisture a spinning motion develops. This is just the beginning stages of a tropical wave or tropical depression.

Recently the National Hurricane Center declared that a tropical storm had developed with winds of 60 miles per hour. This is rather uncommon for a storm to develop this early in the season. But what is even more unusual is where it is located. Tropical Storm Bret is approximately 400 miles east of the island of Barbados. Usually, it is not until the month of August that a named storm develops in this area. In fact, according to long-term records only nine named storms have a history of developing in this portion of the Atlantic this early in the season.

Tropical Storm Bret is forecast to move across the Leeward Islands and probably end up south of Puerto Rico this upcoming weekend. Fortunately, wind speeds and overall intensity are expected to diminish over this time period. That is obviously a very good sign. We then ask the question: Why is this likely not going to be a threat? Wind shear in this portion of the Atlantic later this weekend will have a detrimental effect on the storm, and the winds will essentially rip apart most of what is left of Bret.

That is obviously some good news for folks living along U.S. coast!