2015 tropical storm season starts early, as Ana forms off U.S. coast

by Artemis on May 8, 2015

The 2015 Atlantic hurricane and tropical storm season has got off to an unseasonably early start, with the naming of sub-tropical storm Ana late yesterday bringing an unusual May threat to the U.S. east coast.

Update 09th May 05:00 ET:

Ana has now been changed to a tropical storm and has strengthened as it meanders on a generally northwards track towards the South Carolina coastline.

Sustained winds have risen to 60mph, with higher gusts. Currently tropical storm Ana is not expected to strengthen much further before landfall on Sunday.

The latest from the NOAA:

At 500 AM EDT (0900 UTC), the center of tropical storm ana was
located near latitude 32.4 north, longitude 77.6 west. ana is moving
toward the north-northwest near 3 mph (6 km/h). a turn toward the
northwest and then back to the north at a slightly faster forward
speed is expected over the next 48 hours. on the forecast track,
the center will be near the coasts of south and north carolina by
sunday morning.

data from NOAA doppler weather radars indicate that maximum
sustained winds are near 60 mph (95 km/h) with higher gusts.
although ana has made the transition to a tropical storm, little
additional strengthening is forecast through today. a gradual
weakening trend is expected to begin by tonight or sunday morning.

tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 125 miles (205 km)
from the center. during the past couple of hours, the frying pan
shoals NOAA buoy measured a sustained wind of 41 mph (66 km/h) and
a gust to 56 mph (91 km/h).

the estimated minimum central pressure is 998 mb (29.47 inches).

hazards affecting land
wind: tropical storm conditions are expected within the warning
area, and possible within the watch area, by this afternoon or

storm surge: the combination of storm surge and the tide will cause
normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters.
the water could reach 1 to 2 ft above ground at times of high tide
in coastal areas from cape hatteras, north carolina southward
through south carolina. for information specific to your area,
please see products issued by your local National Weather Service
forecast office.

rainfall: tropical storm ana is expected to produce rainfall
accumulations of 1 to 3 inches, with isolated amounts of 5 inches,
over eastern portions of north carolina and south carolina through

surf: swells generated by ana are affecting portions of the
southeastern u.s. coast. these swells will likely cause life-
threatening surf and rip currents. please see statements issued by
your local National Weather Service forecast office.

Original article continues below:

Ana has formed from a low pressure system that has been brewing north of the Bahamas for a few days, with the majority of forecasters expecting development and an eventual track towards the U.S. east coast.

Sub tropical storm Ana was named yesterday and currently sits around 170 miles south south-east of the South Carolina coast line. Ana has sustained winds of 45 mph with stronger gusts, and a little strengthening has been forecast as the storm makes its way towards an expected landfall on Sunday.

Sub tropical storm Ana forecast path or track, heading for the South Carolina coast

Sub tropical storm Ana forecast path or track, heading for the South Carolina coast

While Ana is not expected to intensify into a hurricane, that would be extremely unusual at this time of year, the storm may come ashore with winds strong enough to cause a little damage and disruption. However rainfall is expected to be the major threat, with 2 to 4 inches currently forecast along the track after landfall through South and North Carolina.

Sub tropical storm Ana will not be a threat to the reinsurance and catastrophe bond market, however it is an early warning of the season that approaches. It’s also a sign that conditions nearer the U.S. coastline are conducive to formation of tropical storms from any low pressure systems that approach, underscoring the need to be alert to the hurricane season threat.

Tracking maps and forecasts for the season ahead can be found on our 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season page.

Also read:

Experts warn against complacency as U.S. endures hurricane drought.

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