Published: Sat, April 22, 2017
Science | By Boyd Webster

1st tropical depression of 2017 forms far from land

1st tropical depression of 2017 forms far from land

A rare April tropical storm has formed far from land in the Atlantic.

The subtropical depression that had been lingering between Bermuda and the Azores strengthened into a depression tropical storm yesterday morning before becoming a storm later in the day. It is forecast to dissipate by Friday afternoon.

It may be April, but there's already a tropical storm roaming the open Atlantic Ocean.

"It should be noted, however, that this type of storm was practically impossible to detect prior to the weather satellite era", Avila wrote.

Such low pressure systems are usually confined to the hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30.

This general motion will continue, but the storm itself is expected to be short-lived. Tropical storm-force winds were extending out about 105 miles from the storm's center, the hurricane center said.

Storms have formed even earlier than April. Similar to Arlene, Ana started off as a sub-tropical depression and then sub-tropical storm before completely acquiring tropical characteristics.

As of Thursday, the system was expected to dissipate that night or Friday.

Should the system advance beyond the depression stage, the storm would be given a name as a result. The tropical depression is now west of the Azores.

This is the second consecutive year where hurricane season started early. The storm has maximum sustained wind speeds of 52 miles per hour (83 km/hr), equivalent to a tropical storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale (SSHWS). "1957, 1965, 1976 and 2002 had slightly below-average hurricane activity, while 1972 was a well below-average season", said Phil Klotzbach, research scientist in the Department of Atmospheric Science and lead author of the report.

These seasonal forecasts are mainly used as guidance, and the public should not base their decision on them, as the forecasts do not state anything relating to possible landfall areas and their vulnerability.

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