Tropical Storm Andres on Sunday became the first named storm on record in the eastern Pacific Ocean, according to the National Weather Service.
The system formed hundreds of miles off the west coast of Mexico, experienced winds of 40 mph, and was moving out to sea at 6 mph as of Sunday morning. It is not expected to threaten the earth and will likely dissipate within 48 hours, the NWS predicted.
The storm is notable for its early arrival – just breaking the record set by Tropical Storm Adrian, which strengthened to reach status on May 10, 2017, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The hurricane season in the eastern Pacific runs from May 15 to November 30.
Top forecasters have predicted that 2021 could contain another active and above-average hurricane season. The hurricane season in the Atlantic runs from June 1 to November 30, although storms occasionally form outside of these dates. In fact, storms have formed in May in each of the past six years.
Meteorologist Phil Klotzbach and other experts at Colorado State University predict that there will be 17 named storms in the Atlantic – eight will become hurricanes.
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A tropical depression officially becomes a storm when the wind speed reaches 39 mph and becomes a hurricane when it reaches 74 mph.
An average season has 12 tropical storms, six of which are hurricanes. In 2020, there were 30 named storms, of which 13 were hurricanes.
Scientists have concluded that human-caused global warming has increased the wind speed of hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones.
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A study published last year looked at 40 years of satellite imagery and found that the chances of hurricanes becoming Category 3 or higher have increased, in line with expectations of storm behavior in response to global warming.
Global warming is caused by the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas, which releases greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide into the earth’s atmosphere. This has caused the planet to warm to levels that cannot be explained by natural factors.
Contributor: Doyle Rice