ORLANDO, Fla. — Subtropical Storm Ana formed in the Atlantic Ocean near Bermuda on Saturday morning, becoming the first named system of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season 10 days before its official start.
The National Hurricane Center’s 11 p.m. advisory showed Ana located about 680 miles northeast of the island with sustained winds of 40 mph and moving northeast at 28 mph.
“While Ana continues to produce convection near the center, the amount of convection has decreased during the past several hours,” said NHC senior hurricane specialist Jack Beven.
There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect, as the Bermuda Weather Service discontinued the tropical storm watch issued earlier. “The new intensity forecast calls for a slow weakening with dissipation just after that time, and it is possible that Ana could dissipate earlier than currently forecast,” Beven said.
Ana made a small, counterclockwise loop in the past few hours with a faster motion toward the northeast expected later tonight and gradually becoming weak by Sunday night, according to the latest forecast.
Forecasters have been predicting the formation of Ana for a good part of the week, but also began tracking a system in the Gulf of Mexico on Friday that looked like it might beat the Bermuda system to the punch for the season’s first name.
That well-defined low pressure area moved inland over the Texas coast as of 8 a.m., so the NHC predicted it would no longer form into a tropical system. Forecasters, though, warn the system will still bring heavy rainfall over parts of southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana.
“Given the complete saturation of soils with ongoing river flooding along the Texas and Louisiana coastal areas, heavy rain could lead to flash, urban and additional riverine flooding across this region,” Cangialosi said.
The 2021 hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. The 2020 season saw a record 30 named storms, and also featured two named systems that formed before the official start of the season.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its predictions this week for the year, and while still forecast for an above-average hurricane season, its numbers do not approach the highs seen in 2020.
For 2021, the NOAA predicts 13 to 20 named storms, of which six to 10 would gain hurricane strength, and of those three to five would become major hurricanes, Category 3 or higher.