The first tropical disturbance of the 2021 eastern Pacific hurricane season has formed off the west coast of Mexico.
The system developed more than a week before the official start of the eastern Pacific hurricane season, which begins May 15.
It's not the first time a tropical system has developed before the official start of hurricane season. The eastern Pacific has had either a tropical depression or tropical storm form prior to the official season in three of the last five years.
This system formed on Friday, and the National Hurricane Center has issued a 70% chance of development for this disturbance over the next 48 hours.
"Conditions are conducive for further development of this system over the next day or so, and a short-lived tropical depression or tropical storm is likely to form tonight or on Sunday," the hurricane center said on Saturday morning.
The storm is unlikely to impact land. However, if it strengthens into a tropical storm as forecast this weekend, the first name on the list for the eastern Pacific is "Andres."
Hurricane season begins early
The Pacific is not the only ocean basin that has seen pre-season tropical activity in recent years. For the last six years the Atlantic has also seen at least one named tropical system form prior to the official start of the season, June 1. And another above average Atlantic hurricane season is expected this year.
That's why the National Hurricane Center has decided that beginning this year it will issue its routine "tropical weather outlook" products beginning May 15 -- to better serve the communities hit by early season tropical systems.
Regardless of which ocean basin you live near, it only takes one storm for the season to be impactful. So it's crucial to start preparing for hurricane season now.
That can be done by reviewing your evacuation plans and ensuring your evacuation kit is up to date. Some areas that were hard hit in 2020 may still be recovering, and some roads or bridges are still being repaired.
"You can also make a list of items to replenish hurricane emergency supplies and start thinking about how you will prepare your home for the coming hurricane season," the hurricane center said.
National hurricane preparedness week runs from May 9 to May 15, when daily themes will help people plan for the upcoming season.