20 April 2017

Tropical Storm Arlene forms in far northern Atlantic

The low pressure system I mentioned in Wednesday morning's post was upgraded to Subtropical Depression One shortly later, then earlier today, it acquired enough characteristics of a tropical cyclone that it transitioned to Tropical Depression One. Now, as of Thursday afternoon, it has been upgraded again Tropical Storm Arlene... the first named storm of the 2017 season.  Maximum wind speeds are estimated to be 45mph, and the central pressure has fallen to 993mb.

However, this was a rather generous upgrade, given that the cyclone is nearly indiscernible from the neighboring monstrous extratropical low and attendant frontal boundary.  It will be completely erased very shortly. In the satellite image below, Arlene's center is marked with a yellow 'x', and its swirl is tiny compared to the cloud field in which it's embedded.

Just to reiterate the climatology of the first named storm, this is exactly two months before the average date of first storm formation (June 20). It is also the 6th pre-season named storm to form in the past 6 years. This is also the 7th use of the name Arlene, and it won't be the last (it will not be retired after this season)!

The next names on this year's list are Bret and Cindy, though there's no new activity in the foreseeable future.

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