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First Atlantic storm forms early

A rare April tropical storm has formed in the eastern Atlantic Ocean, but it won’t pose any threat to the Gulf Coast — or anywhere else for that matter. Forecasters expect the storm to dissipate sometime on Friday.


Tropical Storm Arlene developed on Thursday from Tropical Depression One, which itself emerged from a subtropical system which developed Wednesday. The storm is currently located over the open Atlantic about 815 miles west of the Azores.

The storm’s maximum sustained winds are near 45 miles per hour with higher gusts, with tropical storm-force winds extending outward up to 105 miles from the center. Nonetheless, forecasters say Arlene is expected to be absorbed by a large extratropical low and dissipate on Friday.

Arlene is the first Atlantic tropical storm to form in April since Tropical Storm Ana in 2003, which also formed on April 20. The storm’s formation makes 2017 the third consecutive year that a tropical system has formed before the official start of the season, which runs from June 1 through November 30.


Researchers at Colorado State University have forecast a slightly less-busy than average season for 2017, with eleven named storms projected. Of those, four are expected to become hurricanes, and two of those will become “major hurricanes,” classified as Category 3 or stronger on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

The list of names that will be used for the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season includes Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Don, Emily, Franklin, Gert, Harvey, Irma, Jose, Katia, Lee, Maria, Nate, Ophelia, Phillippe, Rina, Sean, Tammy, Vince, and Whitney.