COLUMBIA, S.C. — Tropical Storm Arlene is now the first tropical storm of the 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season but it likely won't have any serious impact on the Carolinas.
The National Hurricane Center said Friday afternoon that hurricane hunter aircraft had determined that the system had enough organization to get an upgrade on its designation. It had previously been a tropical depression.
The system currently has maximum sustained winds of 40 miles an hour, the minimum for a tropical depression. But forecasters say the storm may weaken soon as it encounters wind shear and dry air.
Current computer guidance models have the storm continuing on a southward motion in the Gulf of Mexico. It's expected to move past the western store of Florida and eventually into western Cuba by Sunday.
There are some long range models that have it turning back northward before moving along the southern tip of Florida. However, it's too early to say if that scenario will play out.
The National Hurricane Center says it will continue to monitor the system with aircraft and satellite over the next several days.
The 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season began June 1 and lasts until November 30. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts a near-normal hurricane activity for the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season with 12 to 17 total named storms. Of those, five to nine could become hurricanes, including one to four major hurricanes which would be category 3, 4, or 5.