Stormy Memorial Day weekend weather? Forecasters eye early start to hurricane season

Doyle Rice

More than a week before the official start of the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season, forecasters at the National Hurricane Center were keeping an eye on a tropical disturbance near the Bahamas.

The system, which only has a 10% chance of developing into a storm, appeared on the hurricane center's forecast maps Sunday afternoon.

"The Atlantic hurricane season doesn't officially start until June 1, but our forecasters are always watching," the hurricane center said in a tweet Monday morning. "This weak disturbance near the Bahamas has a very low (10%) chance of starting off the Atlantic season slightly ahead of schedule for 2023."

In a report released Monday morning, the hurricane center said "showers and a few thunderstorms associated with a broad area of low pressure located a couple of hundred miles northeast of the central Bahamas remain poorly organized. Strong upper-level winds and dry air are expected to prevent development while the system movesgenerally north-northeastward at 5 to 10 mph over the southwestern Atlantic during the next day or so."

When is hurricane season?:Here's when hurricane season starts and what to expect in 2023

Memorial Day weekend threat in the Southeast?

Although that system isn't expected to amount to much, the overall atmospheric pattern over the southeastern U.S. will remain unsettled over the next few days and into the Memorial Day weekend, AccuWeather forecasters said.

The weather pattern will remain stormy even if a tropical or subtropical storm does not develop.

"In lieu of any tropical development, an extended period of stormy weather is in store," said Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist.

AccuWeather meteorologist Andrew Johnson-Levine added, "regardless of whether disturbances in the pattern are linked to the tropics or not, impacts along the southern Atlantic coast could be particularly disruptive for outdoor activities in the days prior to and during the extended Memorial Day weekend."

A disturbance near the Bahamas (yellow x) has a 10% chance of developing into a tropical or subtropical depression or storm.

It's almost hurricane season:Here's the list of names for the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season.

'Preseason' storms aren't rare

Over the past 50 years, 19 storms have formed before the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season, which begins June 1.

Fourteen of those 19 "out of season" or "offseason" storms over the past 50 years formed in May. Another three were born in April.

"While hurricane season doesn't officially begin until June 1, a tropical system in May is far from rare," Johnson-Levine said. "Since 2010, a majority of years have seen a tropical depression or storm in the month of May, and this year may continue that trend." 

2023 hurricane season forecast:Why this year's forecast comes with 'large uncertainty'

Contributing: Cheryl McCloud, USA TODAY Network