Atlantic: Is Subtropical Storm Alex on the Horizon?

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June 1st marks the official start of the 2010 Hurricane season, but there’s a good chance that the National Hurricane Center will upgrade the system shown below to subtropical depression status during the next 24 hours. By Wednesday or Thursday of this week, it could be our first subtropical storm of the season. Right now, Tropical Disturbance 2 is located about 505 miles east-northeast of Nassau, Bahamas and it’s forming a new center near 28.0N/70.0W. This system is already producing a patch of gale force winds east of the center and all thunderstorm activity continues to be displaced to the northeast and east of the low pressure area due to strong westerly winds aloft.

Image: ImpactWeather

Over the next 3 days, we still think the center will move slowly to the north-northwest/ north to a point 100-200 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, NC by Wednesday. Steering currents should then turn the system off to the east and further out into the Atlantic.

This is the expected path for Tropical Disturbance 2 over the next few days. Image: ImpactWeather

Wind shear is currently strong across the disturbance but that shear is forecast to decrease over the next few days. This could allow thunderstorms to better develop around the low center. Should that occur, the system would very likely be reclassified as a subtropical storm and be given the name Alex. Conditions would not be favorable for this storm to become fully tropical, but it could develop winds of 45-55 mph in a large gale center before it heads out to sea.

Tropical Disturbance 2 is currently located 505 miles east-northeast of Nassau, Bahamas. Image: ImpactWeather

Regardless of whether it becomes a named subtropical storm, its effects on the East U.S. Coast should be minimal. However, it could cause some 20-35 mph winds and rough seas across coastal sections of the Carolinas by mid week.

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