Saturday, May 19, 2012

Alberto: 1st Tropical Storm of 2012

Not only is "Alberto" the first tropical system this year, but is the earliest  tropical storm to form before the official start of hurricane season.  The previous early start was "Ana" , between April 20th-24th , 2003.

"Alberto" sits about 120 miles South of Cape Fear, North Carolina.  As of early Sunday morning, its top winds were at 50 mph and moving to the Southwest at a 6 mph. A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued from the Savannah river to the Santee river along the South Carolinas coast.

What is surrounding "Alberto"?
There is a dry air mass on its North and Western sides and this should keep it from strengthening too much even though it is sitting over the warm waters of the Gulf stream. If it does get stronger, it should be just slight intensification.

Satellite imagery reveals that the low level center is removed from the strongest storms. This is a sign of a system still trying to get its footing.

There is also high pressure to its East and another area of low pressure situated to the Northeast.

So where is it headed?
All the features named above will steer "Alberto" towards the Carolinas for about the next day or so. Because of this, watches and warnings may be issued for portions of the Mid-Atlantic States.  After 24 hours, everything moves East and "Alberto" will quickly race out into the open waters of the Atlantic and become a worry for shipping lanes.

Stay tuned for the very latest on this early start to hurricane season.

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