FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- A patch of stormy weather near the Bahamas could bring an early start to hurricane season, although the system appears to be no threat the United States.
A low-pressure area is expected to form northeast of the Bahamas and has a 50% chance of developing into a subtropical cyclone, a cousin of the more familiar tropical depressions, storms and hurricanes, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The system could bring strong winds, heavy rain and thunderstorms to South Florida later in the week, but is expected to head northeast into the Atlantic Ocean, according to the National Weather Service in Miami. Winds over coastal waters could reach gale force, which means at least 39 mph.
A subtropical storm differs from a tropical one. It lacks the tight, well-defined center of a tropical system and tends to be bigger and looser, with its strongest winds located some distance from the center. They also tend to be weaker than tropical systems.
Hurricane season runs June 1 through Nov. 30, although it's not uncommon for a storm or two to appear in the weeks before the official start date. Most forecasters predict a particularly active season, due to worldwide climate conditions and unusually warm water in the Atlantic.
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