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Hurricane season started early for the fifth year in a row

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that from 2015 to 2018, hurricane activity began prior to the official June 1 start of the season. This year is no different.

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WVEC) -- The start of hurricane season officially begins June 1, but this year it started early.

The first subtropical storm of 2019 now has a name, Andrea. The storm Tuesday.

From 2015 to 2018, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said hurricane activity began prior to the official June 1 start of the Atlantic hurricane season.

In 2018, Tropical Storm Alberto formed on May 25. During the full season, there were 15 named storms, including eight hurricanes. Two of them were major (a category 3 or above). An average season has 12 named storms, six hurricanes, three are major.

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For a tropical storm or hurricane to form, there are many ingredients needed to make it happen. NOAA said storms need warm ocean water, at least 80 degrees, an atmosphere which cools fast enough, relatively moist air, a pre-existing near-surface disturbance, and low values of vertical wind shear.

The current disturbance might not have enough gusto to form, but it's still early. There's plenty of time left in the month of May for pre-season tropical systems to form, only if conditions become more favorable.

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center has forecasted a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season for 2019.

The center cited a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season, a 30 percent chance of an above-normal season and a 30 percent chance of a below-normal season.

NOAA predicts a range of nine to 15 named storms, of which four to eight could become hurricanes, which includes two to four major hurricanes. As all other NOAA predictions, they report theses ranges with a 70 percent confidence.

Researchers at Colorado State University released a hurricane season outlook on April 4, predicting a slightly below-average Atlantic hurricane season in 2019. They said there will be 13 named storms, five will be a hurricane, and only two will be major. The forecast is based on a statistical model, historical data, and evaluating conditions.

Storm names for the 2019 season were released by the National Hurricane Center in March. The names are recycled every six years, which means the 2018 list of names will see a resurgence in 2024. 

The hurricane names Michael and Florence were retired because in 2018 they were so deadly or destructive that the future use of the name would be insensitive.