19 May 2012

Tropical Storm Alberto! In May??

Posted by Dan Satterfield

View of a Tropical Disturbance off of the South Carolina Coast from the NASA Terra satellite. Click image for larger size.

(Update: Tropical Storm Alberto has now formed per NHC)

Just looking at this image, it seems a tropical depression may be forming off the South Carolina coast. There is a circulation but that does not mean it is a “warm core” system. It is not that rare for a tropical system to form from a cold core surface low over the ocean, but to get one in the Atlantic in mid May is VERY rare.

It may very well do so because the Atlantic is UNUSUALLY warm. Look at the temperature anomalies below. Much of the Atlantic is over 1 degree Celsius above the average for mid May. Large regions are over 2 degrees above the normal.

There may end up being some similarities between this system and Hurricane Able back in 1951. Able was a very rare May hurricane that reached category 3 strength. Stay Tuned!