An unusual, early-season tropical storm has formed off the Carolinas, and though it may brush the Outer Banks, its effects will be minimal – if there are any at all – at the Jersey Shore.
Tropical Storm Alberto was weakening early Monday morning, forecasters said. Its sustained winds were reaching 40 mph with gusts to 65 mph.
A tropical system is designated an official tropical storm when its sustained wind speed reaches 39 mph.
According to Justin Roberti of AccuWeather.com, Alberto is expected to meander off the South Carolina coast before turning northeastward into the open waters of the Atlantic in the next day or so, grazing the Outer Banks of North Carolina in the process.
It is not expected to ever reach hurricane strength, meaning wind speeds of 74 m.p.h.
Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami say the storm should turn out to sea by midweek, before it could affect the Jersey Shore area, though there may be some residual clouds if it passes close enough to the coastline. The Outer Banks of North Carolina could be grazed with rain and wind.
Though hurricane season officially runs from June 1 through Nov. 30, tropical systems can form outside that date window. Alberto is the earliest named storm since Tropical Storm Ana formed on April 20, 2003.