Rare April tropical storm forms in the Atlantic

Courtesy: NOAA

NEW ORLEANS – In only the second time since the satellite era began in the 1950s, a tropical storm has formed during the month of April in the Atlantic Basin.

The storm system began as an invest earlier this week began to acquire tropical characteristics. It wasn’t surprising that it developed enough to become Sub-Tropical Depression 1 on Wednesday morning. The classification ‘sub-tropical’ means it has some characteristics of both a tropical cyclone and a non-tropical cyclone. Essentially, it is a large area of rotating, disorganized storminess, producing strong winds and high seas.

What WAS surprising was that by Thursday morning, the system had become fully tropical and transitioned to Tropical Depression 1. Adding another twist to the saga, one that no one saw coming, was that winds speeds increased enough by Thursday evening to upgrade the depression to Tropical Storm Arlene.

Even though there have been twists and surprises with Arlene’s development, a very strong Low pressure system and its associated cold front are still moving quickly across the Northern Atlantic Ocean and will pick up and absorb Arlene by Friday.

The only other tropical storm to form during the month of April was Tropical Storm Ana back in 2003. Similar to Arlene, Ana started off as a sub-tropical depression and then sub-tropical storm before completely acquiring tropical characteristics. Ana dumped several inches of rain on Bermuda as it trekked across the Central Atlantic Ocean and it’s remnants dropped much needed rain on the United Kingdom.