The Western Hemisphere’s first tropical system of 2021 could form by next week, as meteorologists are watching for a tropical development over the Pacific Ocean and south of Mexico.

THE 2021 HURRICANE SEASON NAMES AND DATES: WHAT COULD BE NEXT FOR EAST COAST?

Accuweather reported on Thursday that an area of low pressure was being monitored a few hundred miles south of the Gulf of Tehuantepec and that the water in the region is “anomalously warm” at 89 degrees Fahrenheit.

Water at just 80 degrees Fahrenheit is considered to be at a critical temperature threshold for tropical development, it noted.

Tropical storm systems form when water is extremely warm and with the absence of disruptive winds or “wind shear.” 

Wind shear is an alteration in wind speed or direction – horizontally or vertically – over a short distance.

Both of these factors are expected to be present in the region through Monday, though the chance of tropical development is currently only around 10%, Accuweather said.

However, if a tropical depression develops with wind speeds of 39 mph or more it would become a tropical storm and the first named storm of the season.

HURRICANES ARE GROWING STRONGER AS CLIMATE WARMS, NOAA STUDY SHOWS

The Eastern North Pacific tropical season officially begins on May 15 and the Atlantic tropical season starts on June 1.

Last year’s record-breaking Atlantic hurricane season saw 30 named storms and 12 landfalling storms in the continental United States.

Last year, a report from the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found a clear upward trend in storm intensity and rate over a period of almost 40 years and researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) tied rising temperatures to the probability of storms reaching “major hurricane” status.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has selected 24 names for tropical cyclones during the 2021 Eastern North Pacific season.

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Should a named storm develop in the Eastern North Pacific, it would be called “Andres.”

This year the list includes Blanca, Carlos, Dolores, Enrique, Felicia, Guillermo, Hilda, Ignacio, Jimena, Kevin, Linda, Marty, Nora, Olaf, Pamela, Rick, Sandra, Terry, Vivian, Waldo, Xina, York and Zelda.

If the storm develops next week, it would set a record for the earliest storm to develop in the Eastern North Pacific basin.

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To date, the earliest start to the Eastern Pacific hurricane season was on May 9, 2017, according to the NHC.

Comparatively, it took until May 31 last season for Tropical Storm Amanda to develop, tearing through El Salvador and southern Mexico.

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