The Atlantic hurricane season officially starts June 1, but tropical weather got a head-start this year: Hurricane Alex made an unseasonable debut in January over the far eastern Atlantic.
On Friday, the National Hurricane Center said an area of low pressure between Bermuda and the Bahamas became a tropical depression. A tropical storm warning was issued for the South Carolina coast.
Hurricane hunter aircraft were investigating the disturbance, and communities along the coasts of Georgia and the Carolinas should monitor its development, said NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan.
U.S. government forecasters expect a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season, after three relatively slow years. But they also say climate conditions that influence storm development are making it difficult to predict how many hurricanes and tropical storms will arise over the next six months.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's outlook Friday called for a near-normal season with 10 to 16 named storms, with four to eight hurricanes and one to four "major" ones with winds reaching 111 mph and up.
The long-term season averages are 12 named storms, with six hurricanes and three major ones.
Keep tabs on the tropical weather with the abc13 Hurricane Guide.