Yep, 2023 hurricane season has already started

courtesy NASA Earth Observatory

This past January, a storm spun off the northeastern U.S. coast -- a typical low pressure system, looking much like a nor’easter storm. Again, in January. Upon further analysis, the National Hurricane Center determined this to actually be a subtropical storm and yesterday upgraded this storm to our first Tropical Depression of the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season! That’s right, our season began in January and we didn’t even realize it! Let the games begin!

The National Hurricane Center immediately had their sights on this spin-up and tweeted this back on Jan. 16:

NHC Tweet from January 16th

Yesterday, the NHC put out a public information statement which explains the reanalysis and how this determination is made to ‘upgrade’ this system to our first tropical depression of the season. The report also promises a full explanation in the coming months. The statement is definitely worth a look.

“What about the next tropical system to form? From the NHC: If the system begins as a tropical depression, then it would be given the designation ‘TROPICAL DEPRESSION TWO’, and if it becomes a tropical storm, it would be given the name ‘ARLENE.’ Presumably the next tropical depression even after that would be TD TWO, regardless of when it forms.”

This makes it the seventh year since 2015 that a tropical system has been identified BEFORE the official June 1, beginning of the season. I blogged in 2020 my opinion that our season is starting earlier and earlier and the start date should be changed, but no one expects that push to go anywhere. You can revisit that blog here. So while earlier starts are becoming common, January ‘tropical’ systems are indeed rare!

Have a great weekend and stay weather aware, especially in our western counties where a flood watch is in effect from early Saturday morning to late Sunday Evening:

issued by the National Weather Service Houston

Cheers to Friday and Happy Mother’s Day to all of you ladies who are moms: biological moms, adoptive moms, stepmoms, foster moms, bonus moms, dads who are also moms, teachers who are moms, den mothers, room mothers, furbaby moms and those who step in to fill the role. It takes a village of moms!! Hugs to all of you!


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About the Authors:

KPRC 2's chief meteorologist with four decades of experience forecasting Houston's weather.