Discussions underway to possibly start Atlantic hurricane season two weeks earlier

Weather

FILE – In this Sept. 12, 2018 photo provided by NASA, Hurricane Florence churns over the Atlantic Ocean heading for the U.S. east coast as seen from the International Space Station. Astronaut Alexander Gerst, who shot the photo, tweeted: “Ever stared down the gaping eye of a category 4 hurricane? It’s chilling, even from space.” (Alexander Gerst/ESA/NASA via AP)

SYRACUSE  (WSYR-TV)

Discussions among meteorologists are underway that could speed the start of Atlantic hurricane season from June 1st to May 15th .

The earliest any change to the start of the hurricane season could take place is 2022.

Since the turn of the century, the first named storm of the Atlantic season formed before the current June 1st start date in 11 out of 21 years.

While discussions take place about an official change to the start date, the National Hurricane Center will issue daily Tropical Weather Outlooks starting May 15th this year. They issued 36 of these outlooks before June 1st last season.

Last year the first Tropical Storm, Arthur, formed off Florida on May 16th and moved north grazing the North Carolina Outer Banks.  The 2020 season was the most active on record with 30 named storms and the Hurricane Center dipped into the Greek alphabet nine times to name storms when the preseason list of names was used up by mid-September.

Over the last 50 years, the average date of the first named tropical system has shifted one month earlier.

The combination of warmer waters earlier in the year in the source areas for Atlantic systems and better technology to detect and track systems seem to be the reasons for the earlier storms.

The change in date was first proposed by the World Meteorological Organization and will be discussed at an online meeting of the organization in mid-March.

In addition, discussions about the change will take place between a number of branches of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration including the National Hurricane Center and the Eastern and Southern Headquarters of the National Weather Service.

There is no timetable as to when an official decision would be made.

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