Tropical Storm Arthur develops, becomes the first Atlantic-named storm in 2020

At 11am EDT, the storm's center was located about 345 miles (550 kilometers) south-southwest of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina at 11am on Sunday, although its impact was expected to be limited to some minor flooding and rough seas along the coast.

Over the past few years, the Atlantic Basin has seen tropical cyclones form ahead of the official start of the hurricane season.

Even though Arthur is expected to move over the open water, flooding rainfall from a non-tropical storm is expected to soak portions of the Great Lakes, Ohio Valley and southern Appalachians during at least the first half of this week. Now, forecasters say the storm has its sights set on eastern North Carolina.

"Gradual development of this system is still expected, and it will likely become a tropical or subtropical storm on Saturday when it is located near the northwestern Bahamas".

The latest forecast from the U.S. National Hurricane Center said, "At 500 AM EDT, the center of Tropical Storm Arthur was located near latitude 30.0 North, longitude 77.6 West. Arthur is moving toward the north-northeast near 9 miles per hour [15 km/h]". Additional organization of the depression is expected into Sunday morning where it is expected to strengthen into a tropical storm. A number of flash flood warnings were triggered along the southeastern coast of Florida as heavy downpours and thunderstorms continued on Friday night.

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He said: “Tropical Storm Arthur has kick started the season off early and its a timely reminder that we should all be sufficiently prepared.”. Regarding its forecast track, Arthur will remain well offshore the east coast of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina Sunday.

Thursday was the second wettest May day on record for the city of Marathon in the Florida Keys.

While there may be a component of warming waters and climate change in other pre-June storms, Arthur is more of a subtropical storm system than a traditional named storm and its water is cooler than what's usually needed for storm formation, said Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach. Marathon picked up a total of 6.45 inches from May 14-15, when the normal precipitation for all of May is 3.35 inches. Unsafe surf conditions and increased rip currents are expected as well.

The 2020 season follows four straight years during which there were at least two US -landfalling hurricanes, with Barry and Dorian striking in 2019.

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  • Douglas Reid