SOUTHEASTERN NORTH CAROLINA (WECT) - The 2015 tropical season got off to an early start as Tropical Storm Ana made its presence known across southeastern North Carolina over the Mother's Day weekend.
Ana becomes the earliest land-falling tropical system on record, surpassing Tropical Storm Beryl in 2012, and is the 3rd consecutive "A" named storm to affect the region in as many years.
In the wake of Ana, southeast North Carolinians may be wondering what the rest of the season may bring us and if Ana was a harbinger for what is to come.
Ana formed off a residual frontal boundary across the Bahamas, something that was well-forecast by the major computer models and began to make its move northward. Under most circumstances, Ana would have continued to move northward and away from the region. A blocking area of high pressure to the north and east of the system gave it very little leeway to make an easy escape out to sea. The lack of steering made Ana drift for a few days before finding a route from the roadblock, moving northwest to make its escape and move poleward.
In April, tropical meteorology researchers Drs. Philip Klotzbach and William Gray released their 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season forecast, stating that the season will be below normal for overall activity. This forecast is not for land-falling systems but activity throughout the entire Atlantic Basin.
Even with the early start with Ana, the major players to have a below normal tropical season are still on the field.
Over the past year, we've been moving closer into an El Nino setup. The forecast for the remainder of the year is for moderately strong El Nino to develop with cooler than normal sea-surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean, strong westerlies in the Atlantic Basin along with good deal of dust and dry air coming off West Africa. These conditions will likely suppress major development in the deep tropical Atlantic.
Ana's early push into the 2015 tropical season should serve as a reminder to stay prepared no matter what the forecast for the season is calling for as it only takes one storm to make it an active season for you.
The official start to hurricane season is June 1st and will run through November 30th.