Despite the fact that the Atlantic Hurricane season does not officially start until 1st June a Tropical Storm has developed off the East Coast of the USA - about 100 miles off the coast of South Carolina.
Alberto began life as a low pressure system in the same area but it quickly developed over 24 hours and gained tropical characteristics, becoming a Tropical Storm on 19th May. Winds have so far reached 50mph and the system is moving WSW although it is forecast to make a turn heading North over the next 24 hours. It is not expected to gain strength before dissipating by the end of the week.
A Tropical Storm watch has been issued by the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) for the coast of South Carolina.
Alberto is the earliest Tropical Storm to form since 2003. Does this mean the 2012 season is going to be another active one?
Not necessarily. In fact, many reputable organisations are so far forecasting an on or below average season. The reason for these predictions is the expected weakening of the La Nina and the chance of El Nino developing.
The NHC are expected to release their forecast within the next week which will give a greater idea of what's expected in the year ahead.
May 20 2012 by CardiffStorm