Tropical Storm Ana exits with a whimper but also a warning as first named storm of year

Tropical Storm Ana headed northeast of Bermuda and away from posing any threat to land Sunday, destined to dissipate in the Atlantic Ocean – but a reminder nonetheless of the approaching hurricane season. 

Ana became the first named storm in the Atlantic this year a little over a week before the official June 1 start of the season, which federal government forecasters expect to produce 13 to 20 storms big enough to be given a name. If predictions of six to 10 hurricanes prove accurate, this would be the sixth consecutive season with above-average activity.

Factors such as warm surface water in the Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea, along with weak tropical trade winds and a strong West African monsoon point to another busy year for hurricanes, which typically peak in August and September.

By David Callaway, Callaway Climate Insights Colorado State University researchers are again predicting an above-average hurricane season for 2021, due in part to a weak El Niño and warmer than normal subtropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures. CSU researchers are forecasting 17 named storms, 8 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes of category 3 or greater. Hurricane season starts […] (Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

There were a record 30 named storms last year, 14 of them hurricanes and seven categorized as major hurricanes (with sustained winds of at least 111 mph). Only the disastrous 2005 season, which begat 15 hurricanes that included the notorious Katrina and Rita, has generated more. 

By comparison, Ana leaves the picture as merely a warning after bringing wind and rain to Bermuda but having little impact otherwise. At 11 a.m. ET, the National Hurricane Center said, “Ana is barely holding on as a tropical cyclone,” as its maximum winds diminished to 40 mph.

Ana formed as a subtropical storm early Saturday, then transitioned to a tropical storm Sunday, meteorologists said. No watches or warnings were in effect for the storm.

Contributing: Doyle Rice, USA TODAY; The Associated Press

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