The system has a low chance of development, but is expected to bring rain and wind to parts of Florida.
The National Hurricane Center is giving an area of low pressure over the northwest Bahamas a 20 percent chance of forming into something tropical over the next five days.
Little development is expected over then next 48 hours as the system moves generally northwest toward Florida, forecasters said Wednesday, but some slow development is possible as it turns northeastward and moves over the western Atlantic. If it earned tropical storm status, it would be named Andrea.
The forecast Wednesday morning from the NHC was the first special hurricane season outlook issued this year. Regularly-scheduled outlooks begin on June 1.
Regardless of what develops, it is expected to result in some wet windy weather for South Florida. The National Weather Service forecast for the Sarasota-Bradenton area calls for a 60 percent chance of rain after 2 p.m. Thursday and Thursday night, with between a tenth and quarter of an inch expected. Winds from the east and then south of about 10 mph are also expected.
The low’s counterclockwise flow in conjunction with an area of high pressure to its north are working together to send a strong easterly wind blast toward the coast.
Miami meteorologists also note that there is a potential for urban flooding in Palm Beach County tonight into Thursday as showers queue up along the coast.
“Showers are not expected to become stagnant, since winds will favor the breezier side,” NWS meteorologists wrote in a morning forecast. “The threat is training showers advecting across the east coast from the Atlantic.”
Despite the warm waters of the Atlantic, the low over the southeastern Bahamas is not expected to strengthen into a tropical depression or storm, but it’s not unusual for pre-hurricane season systems to spin up.
In 2017, Tropical Storm Arlene formed April 20 as the first named storm of the year and only the second tropical storm on record to form in April, joining Ana, which formed in 2003.
In 2016 Hurricane Alex became the first hurricane to appear in the Atlantic basin in January since 1938. Alex was followed by Tropical Storm Bonnie, which formed May 28.
According to the National Hurricane Center, hurricane season was established in 1935 to last June 15 through November 15 — the period during which a special telegraph line was set up to connect weather offices.
Those dates lasted until 1965 when it was expanded from June 1 to the end of November.
Historically, these dates include about 97 percent of tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic basin.
“Tropical storms have formed in every month outside of hurricane season, and there have been a few hurricanes too,” according to a hurricane center article. “May is the most active month outside the official season, with seven named storms occurring during the past 10 years, including two in 2012 — Alberto and Beryl.”