1st tropical depression of season forms far from land

Hurricane Alex formed in January of a year ago, the first January hurricane since 1955.

Arlene is expected to be absorbed by a large extratropical storm and dissipate Friday.

The next update from the National Hurricane Center will be issued at 11 p.m. Thursday.

Forecasters expect the storm to maintain the southwestward heading until it dissipates later Friday. The other named April storm, named Ana, also formed on April 20, but in 2003.

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A rare April tropical storm has formed over the north Atlantic. The first name on the list for tropical storms for this year is Arlene.

The 2005 Atlantic season was the most active in recorded history, with 28 named storms, 15 hurricanes and seven major hurricanes, causing an estimated 1,225 deaths and almost $143 billion in damage in the United States, according to the NHC.

The Atlantic hurricane season officially begins June 1 and runs through November 30.

As it's no threat to any land, Arlene is more or less just a curiosity for forming so early in the year.

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When an area of low pressure forms over waters with sea-surface temperatures of at least 70 degrees, a subtropical low can form.

Packing gale-force winds and driving 40 foot seas, if the system reached adequate wind speeds - ranging between 40 to 73 miles per hour - it would become Subtropical Storm Arlene. Experts say El Nino conditions usually result in more wind shear, which cuts down on the number of tropical storms and hurricanes. They remained below the tropical level threshold, below 39 miles per hour.

According to the NHC, this addition "will help illustrate that hazardous conditions can occur well outside of the track forecast cone".

But they warn coastal residential that it only takes one hurricane striking the coast "to make it an active season for them, and they need to prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted".

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As a result, the strongest winds and rain become closer to the center and, with time, further intensification becomes possible.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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