Tropical or Subtropical Storm Expected to Form Saturday Near Bahamas

May 15, 2020 - 4:00 pm

While the hurricane season doesn't officially start until June first, there is a disturbance with a high likelihood of development.

"Gradual development of this system is still expected, and it will likely become a tropical or subtropical storm on Saturday," the National Hurricane Center advised.

The low pressure trough is off the Florida coast.

Tropical storm force wind gusts are possible in the Florida Keys, southeast Florida and the Bahamas on Friday night and Saturday, forecasters said. Gale warnings have also been issued for the region.​

The forecast led Florida emergency management officials to close 14 state-run COVID-19 test sites on Friday. The sites in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Brevard counties will reopen on Monday.

Helen Aguirre Ferré, the communications director for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, said on Twitter that it’s the right move. “With possible wind gusts of 40 mph, it is best for public safety to reopen on Monday. It’s also common sense,” she tweeted Thursday night.

State officials have said Florida is currently testing 16,000 to 24,000 people a day for the coronavirus.

Closing the testing sites for the entire weekend will give officials time to break down and set up tables, tents and other equipment at each location, Jason Mahon, communications director for the Florida Division of Emergency Management, told the Miami Herald.​

"The system is expected to move generally northeastward over the western Atlantic."

The Hurricane Center says the chance of formation is 80 percent.

"The disturbance will continue to bring heavy rainfall and wind gusts to tropical-storm-force across portions of the Florida Keys, southeast Florida and the Bahamas through Saturday."

An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft is scheduled to investigate the disturbance Saturday morning.

If it gets a name, it would be Arthur.

Seeing named storms form before June first is becoming less uncommon.

Last year Subtropical Storm Andrea formed in the Atlantic in May. It didn't threaten land.

The year before, Tropical Storm Alberto made a Memorial Day landfall along the Florida Panhandle in 2018.

In 2017, Tropical Storm Arlene developed in April in the Atlantic.  It didn't impact land.

2016 saw two named storms before June. Tropical Hurricane Alex actually formed in January and impacted the Azores Islands as a tropical storm.  Then Tropical Storm Bonnie doused the Carolinas in May of 2016.

Tropical Storm Ana in 2015 was a Mother's Day weekend storm and the second-earliest to make a U.S. landfall along the Carolina coast.

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