1887 was not the best year in the tropics. Two storms formed before the start of what we now consider Hurricane Season, and three storms formed after the season was over. 1911 had a tropical depression form in February. But no year on record has had three named storms in the Atlantic that formed before the season began.
But, in the words of Barbara Walters, this is… 2020. And now an area of low pressure about 500 miles southeast of Bermuda has at least a small chance of becoming tropical or subtropical storm Cristobal for a very brief time, just before the start of the Season on June 1. If it does, it will likely be weak… and almost certainly no threat to the states. But it would be good enough to put the 2020 hurricane season in the record books before the season even begins.
Granted, we’ve come close to having three pre-season storms before. 1951 was the closest, but it gets a little into nerd territory as to why it doesn’t count. A tropical storm formed in January 1951, but that was technically closer to the end of the 1950 season than the start of the 1951 season. Hurricane Able formed in mid-May, and an unnamed tropical depression formed a few days later.
1954 had two unnamed subtropical depressions and a tropical storm. And nobody likes to talk about the 2005 Hurricane Season which had no preseason action but was so active we ran out of Hurricane names and had to start using the Greek alphabet. Tropical Storm Zeta formed the day before New Year’s Eve that year, becoming only the second tropical system on record to ring in a new year along its path.
Regardless of Cristobal’s existential crisis, Floridians have a good chance to prepare for what is predicted to be an active season by taking advantage of some sales tax breaks. Now through Thursday, many storm prep items like batteries, flashlights, fuel containers, radios, and generators are tax-free. Pricing limits apply, so make sure you check out the full PDF list to see all of the details. And remember, like we told you last year, you can’t buy your prep supplies at Disney Springs.
One further note… that area of high risk on the map near the Yucatan Peninsula does bear a little watching. It’s far too early to be sure, but some forecast models over the past few days have been fairly consistent with bringing it into the Gulf of Mexico sometime next week. After that, it’s a crapshoot as to where it would go and what it would do… but the National Hurricane Center will of course keep an eye on it. Keep calm and carry on.