RICHMOND, Va. -- Thursday marked the first official day of the Atlantic hurricane season. CBS 6 Chief Meteorlogist Zach Daniel provided special coverage on CBS 6 News at 4, 5 and 6 p.m.
When hurricanes threaten, he helps make the call to evacuate
The season is already off to an active start as thunderstorms in the Gulf of Mexico associated with an area of low pressure “have increased and become better organized during the overnight hours,” according to the National Hurricane Center. The system could become a tropical depression or tropical storm in the next 48 hours.
The disturbance is expected to drift southward over the next couple of days and landfall of the storm is not expected.
If the Gulf of Mexico system does strengthen into a named tropical storm, the first name on the 2023 list is Arlene. An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft is scheduled to investigate the system Thursday afternoon, NHC forecasters said.
Though the season begins Thursday, a named storm doesn’t normally develop for about three weeks. Over the last 30 years, the average first named storm has formed around June 20, according to the NHC.
Regardless of whether this storm gets a name, it will likely impact parts of the Gulf coast with locally heavy rainfall, high surf and rip currents along much of the Florida Peninsula as well as coastal regions of Mississippi and Alabama.
When does hurricane season really get going?
Hurricanes can form at any time during the warm season and late into fall, but on average they peak in the Atlantic in the early fall – which is also around the time that the strongest storms tend to make landfall in the United States.
Hurricane season ends on November 30, though there have been several instances where storms continued to form well after that date. In 2005 – the same year Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans – Hurricane Epsilon formed on November 29 and dissipated December 10. It was followed by an extremely late-season storm, Tropical Storm Zeta, that formed December 30 and lasted into January.
The CNN Wire contributed to this report.