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Andrea Is 1st Named Storm Of Atlantic Hurricane Season

A satellite image from 1 p.m. ET Monday shows "Disturbance 1," which at the time had a 70% chance of becoming a tropical storm, according to the National Hurricane Center.
A satellite image from 1 p.m. ET Monday shows "Disturbance 1," which at the time had a 70% chance of becoming a tropical storm, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Updated Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. ET

Andrea, the first named storm of the 2019 Atlantic season, formed late Monday night, according to a special bulletin from the National Hurricane Center. With maximum sustained winds of 40 mph, the low-powered storm is less than 300 miles west-southwest of Bermuda.

Subtropical Storm Andrea is expected to weaken Tuesday and dissipate on Wednesday. Originally dubbed "Disturbance 1," the system developed into a tropical storm just two days after the NHC began tracking it. But by Tuesday morning, the storm was already showing signs of waning.

The storm was named Andrea after its sustained winds reached 39 mph. Andrea is the first name on the 2019 list that's maintained by the World Meteorological Organization.

Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft were dispatched Monday "to investigate the disturbance," the NHC said. They found that the storm had developed a well-defined center, with winds gusting above 40 mph.

Despite the storm's predicted demise as it moves north and northeast, the hurricane center is advising people on the island of Bermuda to keep an eye on the system. Forecasters have not issued any coastal watches or warnings related to Andrea.

The storm was predicted to devolve as it runs into a cold front over the ocean, the NHC said. But the storm still drew attention, as it forced the weather agency to issue a special alert over the weekend — some two weeks before the hurricane season officially begins on June 1.

It's not rare for a named storm to form ahead of the June 1 hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.

Last year's first named storm was Tropical Storm Alberto, which formed in the Gulf of Mexico on May 25. The storm struck the Florida Panhandle on Memorial Day, with drenching rains and winds topping 65 mph.

Despite that early start, the first hurricane of 2018 didn't form until early July, when Beryl took shapein the far eastern Caribbean Sea.

In addition to jumping the gun on the hurricane season, the likely tropical storm is also developing before the National Hurricane Center has had a chance to release its forecast outlook for the 2019 Atlantic season. That report is slated to come out on Thursday.

As for why Andrea is labeled subtropical instead of tropical, the NHC says:

"The cyclone is considered subtropical at this time because it is interacting with an upper-level low pressure system to its west, has a relatively large radius of maximum wind, and its overall appearance in satellite images."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.