Tropical Depression One forms ahead of start of hurricane season

The first tropical depression has formed in the North Pacific Ocean off the coast of Mexico ahead of the start of what forecasters are already predicting to be a busy 2021 storm season.

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While hurricane season officially starts June 1, the National Hurricane Center issued its first special tropical weather outlook Sunday for Tropical Depression One-E giving it a 70% chance of becoming a tropical storm in the next two days.

“Environmental conditions are conducive for further development,” the agency said. “By Monday, environmental conditions are expected to become less favorable as the system moves west-northwestward to northwestward away from Mexico.”

A system is considered a tropical storm when maximum sustained winds reach 39 mph. A storm is classified as a hurricane when maximum sustained winds reach 74 mph.

Forecasters believe there could be as many as 17 named storms for the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season. It would be the sixth consecutive “above normal” season. Last year, the first named storm, Tropical Storm Arthur, formed May 17. The 2020 season had 30 named storms including 13 hurricanes.

>> 2021 Hurricane Season: Experts project ‘above normal’ activity could generate 17 named storms

The formation falls during hurricane preparedness week. For those who might be impacted by the severe storms, it is a time to go over evacuation routes, make a plan in case of a hurricane and ensure supplies are up to date.

It is fairly typical for outlooks to be issued before the official start of hurricane season. Last year, the agency issued 36 tropical weather outlooks before June 1, WTSP reported. This year, the agency decided to start issuing its routine tropical weather outlooks starting May 15.

Hurricane season is June 1 to Nov. 30.