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Subtropical Storm Ana Is First Named Storm Of Atlantic Hurricane Season

Subtropical Storm Ana is moving west and is predicted to change toward the north, then move northeast.
Screenshot by NPR
National Hurricane Center
Subtropical Storm Ana is moving west and is predicted to change toward the north, then move northeast.

Updated May 23, 2021 at 8:46 AM ET

Hurricane season in the Atlantic is off to an early start for the seventh consecutive year with subtropical storm Ana forming near Bermuda Saturday.

The National Hurricane Center began advisories Saturday morning as Ana began moving west. The storm is expected to move in a slow and erratic manner through Saturday night, bringing rain and gusty winds before gradually weakening over the coming days, the NHC reported.

A subtropical storm is a low-pressure system that originates over tropical or subtropical waters with surface wind speeds of 39 miles per hour or more. These winds move in a circular pattern with a well-defined center, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The 2021 hurricane season in the Atlantic will likely see above-average activity, with 13 to 20 named storms predicted. NOAA is predicting six to 10 of those storms to become hurricanes with winds of 74 miles per hour or higher. The agency is expecting three to five major hurricanes with winds of at least 111 miles per hour, NPR previously reported.

As NPR's Rebecca Hersher has reported, researchers have found that big, deadly hurricanes are getting more likely. In recent years, some storms have turned into major hurricanes very quickly — and that rapid intensification is one hallmark of climate change.

A study published last week found that human-induced sea-level rise caused an estimated $8 billion in excess flooding damage during Hurricane Sandy and affected an additional 70,000 people.

Experts expect less hurricane activity than last year's season, a record-breaking year with 30 named storms that exhausted the list of names. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30, but there has been debate on changing the start date with named storms occurring in May in recent years.

Ana's arrival serves as a warning for residents living along the coast to begin preparing for the upcoming hurricane season.

"Now is the time for communities along the coastline as well as inland to get prepared for the dangers that hurricanes can bring," Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said. "The experts at NOAA are poised to deliver life-saving early warnings and forecasts to communities, which will also help minimize the economic impacts of storms."

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Dustin Jones
Dustin Jones is a reporter for NPR's digital news desk. He mainly covers breaking news, but enjoys working on long-form narrative pieces.
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