Two storms presently in the Atlantic basin could become the first named storm of 2021, forecasters said Friday. Image courtesy National Hurricane Center
May 21 (UPI) -- The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season is threatening to begin early for the seventh year in a row, with two potential storms on the horizon -- one in the Atlantic and one in the Gulf of Mexico.
The National Hurricane Center said either, or both, could develop into a named subtropical storm Friday.
One disturbance is in the central Atlantic Ocean near Bermuda. The NHC said it has about a 90% chance of becoming a named storm over the next 48 hours.
The second disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico could move inland along the Texas or Louisiana coast later Friday, the NHC said. It has a 40% chance of becoming a named storm over 48 hours.
The first storm of the 2021 season will be named Ana and the second will be Bill.
"Showers and thunderstorms associated with a non-tropical low-pressure area centered about 450 miles east-northeast of Bermuda have become better organized during the past several hours," the NHC said in an advisory.
"The low has not yet acquired subtropical storm characteristics. However, if current trends continue advisories could be initiated on the system later [Friday] or tonight as it moves westward to west-southwestward to the northeast of Bermuda."
The center described the Gulf system as a "low-level circulation" associated with a "mid-to-upper-level disturbance," but shower and thunderstorm activity remained disorganized.
"Environmental conditions are expected to be marginally conducive for development, and a short-lived tropical depression or storm could form before the disturbance moves inland over the northwestern Gulf coast [Friday night]," the NHC said.
The agency said the system could produce heavy rainfall and possible flooding in portions of southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana over the next several days.
If one of the systems gets a name, 2021 will be the seventh straight year to see the Atlantic hurricane season, which officially opens June 1, start early. Since 2015, at least one named storm has developed before June 1 somewhere in the Atlantic Basin.