Ana Kicks Off Early Start to 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season
(Bloomberg) -- The Atlantic Ocean has produced its first named storm for 2021, making this the seventh straight year that tropical systems have emerged before the official June 1 start of hurricane season.
Subtropical Storm Ana, 205 miles (330 kilometers) northeast of Bermuda, had maximium sustained winds of 40 miles per hour, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in a Saturday-afternoon update.
The storm is set to weaken gradually on Saturday night and Sunday, and dissipate in a couple of days. It isn’t expected to pose any threat to commerce or land.
Atlantic storms are closely watched because they can disrupt global energy, agriculture, and insurance markets. The U.S. Gulf of Mexico is home to about 16% of the nation’s crude oil production and 2% of its natural gas output.
In addition, about 48% of American refining capacity is located along the Gulf Coast, and Florida is the world’s second-largest source of orange juice.
The early arrival of storms in recent years has sparked discussions within the National Weather Service, as well as the World Meteorological Organization, about moving up the official start of the Atlantic season to mid-May. The Atlantic hurricane season officially runs from June 1 to Nov. 30 and produces an average of 14 named storms.
A storm is named when its winds climb to 39 mph, putting Ana currently barely above that mark.
On Thursday, U.S. forecasters said 13 to 20 storms could be named across the Atlantic this season. Of those, six to 10 could become hurricanes and three to five could strengthen into major hurricanes packing winds of 111 miles per hour or more, the government prediction showed.
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