Earliest Simultaneous Start of Eastern Pacific and North Atlantic Hurricane Seasons


This is the first year on record that a tropical storm has formed in both the Atlantic and eastern Pacific before the official start of their respective seasons. On May 19, Tropical Storm Alberto formed 110 miles off the South Carolina coast. As of 11 am EST May 21, Alberto was a small storm 175 miles east of Jacksonville, Florida. In the northeastern Pacific last week, Aletta became the first tropical storm of the East Pacific hurricane season, forming a day before the season’s May 15 start date. Aletta was centered about 650 miles south-southwest of the southern tip of Mexico's Baja California before gradually dissipating. Neither storm poses threat of landfall.

The official start of the Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1. Alberto is the first pre-season tropical storm in the Atlantic to be named since Tropical Storm Ana in April 2003.

On May 19, Alberto had sustained winds of 45 mph, which increased to 60 mph by early evening as the system drifted slowly to the southwest. A tropical storm watch was issued at 11 pm EDT Saturday for the South Carolina coastline. Maximum winds decreased to 50 mph Sunday morning as the center drifted southwestward, parallel to the coast roughly 70-90 miles offshore. The tropical storm watch was discontinued at 5 pm EST Sunday, when Alberto's center was 105 miles southeast of Savannah, Georgia, and maximum sustained winds weakened to 45 mph.

Tropical Storm Alberto Potential Storm Track - May 21, 2012

Tropical Storm Alberto Potential Storm Track - May 21, 2012
Source: National Hurricane Center (NHC)

At 11 am EST Monday, May 21, Alberto was located at latitude 30.4N, longitude 78.8W, 175 miles east of Jacksonville, Florida. Maximum sustained winds were 40 mph and the storm was moving to the east at 7 mph. Alberto is a small storm in extent and tropical storm force winds (39 mph or more) are not expected on land. However, dangerous surf conditions, including rip currents, are possible along the South Carolina, Georgia, and northeastern Florida coasts.

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