Forecasters are watching an area of low pressure in the Atlantic Ocean that is likely to develop into a subtropical cyclone northeast of Bermuda on Friday. As of Thursday's latest update from the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC), there's a 70 percent chance of development over the next 48 hours.
"It will move into a more hostile environment later in the weekend, so it is likely to be short lived, but if it reaches subtropical storm strength as expected, it will be the first named storm of the year," explains Michael Carter, a meteorologist at The Weather Network.
This disturbance would become Subtropical Storm Ana if named.
Though the season hasn't officially started yet, it's actually not unusual to get a named storm in May. There has been an early named storm every year since 2015. That's part of the reason that the NHC is starting their regular forecast updates early this year.
After a record-breaking 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, with an unprecedented 30 named storms that formed, early predictions from experts at Colorado State University (CSU) signaled another active year ahead.
In the release of the long range forecast last month, researchers are predicting 17 named storms, up from the average of 12, and eight hurricanes, compared with an average of six. Of those eight hurricanes, four are expected to be "major." The forecast also calls for a higher than average risk of landfalls in coastal areas of the U.S.
NOAA is expected to release their official Atlantic hurricane forecast on Thursday, May 20.