FIRST ALERT: Tropical Atlantic ocean unusually cold for June

Updated: Jun. 20, 2018 at 4:16 PM EDT
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(WWBT/NBC) - Hurricane season is well underway and it's interesting to note that the sea surface temperatures in the deep Tropical Atlantic are running well below normal for this time in June.

In fact, they are the coldest they have been in the middle of June since at least the early 1980s!

While there is still a window of opportunity for ocean to warm in the months ahead, colder than normal water means less fuel for the development of tropical storms and hurricanes. These colder than normal waters also tend to favor higher pressure and a more stable atmosphere.

This is also a "negative" for the development of tropical systems. If these trends continue, the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season could end up being a quieter one than expected.

Does that mean we may be out of the woods for a big storm this year? Not necessarily.

Even quieter seasons can bring terrible storms, and it takes just one to be a memorable season. Let's remember back to 1992 when the first named storm of the season did not form until Aug. 17. "Andrew" is well known for the extreme devastation it brought to southern Florida.

This may be one of those years when storms are more likely to develop closer to the U.S. mainland where water temperatures are trending much warmer than normal. Take note of the sea surface temperature anomalies over the western Atlantic and northern Gulf of Mexico:

Storms that develop closer to the U.S. could strengthen quickly if the atmospheric environment is favorable. This would potentially give residents along the coast much less time to prepare once a tropical storm has been named.

The bottom line? Make sure you have a hurricane preparedness kit and detailed plan in place for your family in case you're forced to take action quickly.

If you haven't already done so, be sure to download the NBC12 First Alert Weather App to your smartphone.

You'll be able to keep abreast of the latest tropical storm and hurricane track forecasts at your fingertips.

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