The 2012 Atlantic hurricane season got an early start with the formation of Tropical Storm Alberto off the coast of South Carolina on Saturday (May 19).
Alberto is the earliest forming tropical storm in the Atlantic basin since Ana in 2003. The Atlantic hurricane season officially begins on June 1, with the most active period typically falling in August and September.
This season also marks the first time that tropical storms have formed in both the Atlantic and East Pacific basins before the official start of both seasons. The Eastern Pacific season begins on May 15, but Tropical Storm Aletta formed hours before the official start of the season.
As of Sunday morning, Alberto was located 95 miles (150 kilometers) south-southeast of Charleston, S.C., and 115 miles (185 km) east-southeast of Savannah, Ga. It had maximum sustained winds of 50 mph (85 kph). Atmospheric patterns are keeping the storm off the coast and it has moved little; it is expected to curve toward the northeast and out to sea beginning tomorrow (May 21).
The National Hurricane Center has a tropical storm watch is in effect from the mouth of the Savannah River to the South Santee River in South Carolina. A watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the designated watch area, in this case, within the next 24 hours. The NHC has also warned of dangerous surf along the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina.
Alberto is not expected to intensify.