(Bloomberg) -- A tropical depression has spun up in the Gulf of Mexico northwest of Ft. Myers, Florida, on the first official day of the Atlantic hurricane season.
The system, with current top winds of 35 miles (56 kilometers) per hour, is expected to become Tropical Storm Arlene later Thursday or early Friday, the National Hurricane Center said. It will likely be a short-lived storm and is forecast to drift south, where it won’t be a threat to off-shore US energy production. It could clip the western tip of Cuba before falling apart.
“There is a small window for the system to intensify,” Philppe Papin, a hurricane specialist at the center, wrote in a forecast analysis. The storm will encounter wind shear in about a day “thus, weakening is forecast to begin by Friday night.”
The storm’s winds will eventually strengthen to 40 mph in about 12 hours, the center said.
The six-month Atlantic hurricane season, which runs through Nov. 30, began Thursday. Arlene would be the year’s second storm if it forms. Typically, the first storm would be given the “A” name on the list, but this year analysis showed a system that spun up in the Atlantic in January was actually a subtropical storm. Colorado State University has predicted this season will produce 14 named storms, in line with the historical average.
(Adds outlook for winds in paragraph four. An earlier version of this story corrected spelling of Arlene)
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