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Sunday, July 25, 2021

First Warning: Tracking what may become the first hurricane of the year

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Tropical Storm Elsa officially formed in the Central Atlantic early Thursday morning, becoming the 5th-named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season.

First Warning: Tracking what may become the first hurricane of the year

Tropical Storm Elsa is the earliest “E”-named storm on record, beating the old record of July 6th. The storm’s formation also means the 2021 hurricane season is now outpacing the 2020 Atlantic season to date, which ended up being the most active year on record.

Conditions are conducive for further intensification as the storm approaches the Windward Islands on Friday. After that time, computer models presently agree that the storm may curve northward and affect Cuba, then potentially enter the Gulf of Mexico or impact Florida.

First Warning: Tracking what may become the first hurricane of the year
“Spaghetti” computer model tracks of this tropical system over the next 120 hours
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It is important to note that while the computer model guidance is currently suggesting a track far east of Texas, there is still a high degree of uncertainty when predicting the path of a storm that is just beginning to develop. This means that the Texas coastline is not entirely out of the woods.

This fifth storm of the 2021 hurricane season continues what has already been a busier than average year. According to NHC climatology data from 1966-2009, the first tropical storm of the year doesn’t typically come until July 9. The first hurricane of the season typically comes August 10.

While Elsa is not officially forecast to reach hurricane strength at this time, some computer models are suggesting that it could.

First Warning: Tracking what may become the first hurricane of the year
Intensity forecasts for the tropical system from different computer models (tropicaltidbits.com)

Stay with the KXAN First Warning Weather team for daily updates on this storm as it continues developing and as we process new forecast data.

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Author: David Yeomans
This post originally appeared on KXAN Austin

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First Warning: Tracking what may become the first hurricane of the year
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