TROPICS: Eastern Pacific tropical cyclone season begins May 15

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Tuesday, May 15 is the official start for the eastern Pacific’s tropical cyclone season, and that area began the season one day early with “Tropical Depression One-E.” That system later strengthened overnight enough to be named “Tropical Storm Aletta,” the first name on the East Pacific tropical cyclone list for 2012. 
BONUS: Click here to see the full list of tropical names in rotation.

A cluster of thunderstorm activity southwest of Mexico (the center of the low pressure is about 640 miles south of Manzanillo, Mexico, according to the National Hurricane Center‘s last update) organized enough Monday morning to warrant tropical classification. Wind shear is limited, which has been good for the storm’s organization. Maximum sustained winds were at 35 mph as of Monday morning, and are just barely at Tropical Storm strength Tuesday morning at 40 mph. Storm movement is to the west-northwest at 9 mph, and will not impact any landmasses.

MAP: National Hurricane Center

Tropical meteorologists forecasting with the NHC said overnight that the intensity of Aletta should only experience “modest strengthening” over the next day “before increasing southwesterly vertical shear begins to impede any further development.”  Aletta should then weaken mid-week in the open eastern Pacific.

WEB BONUS: Click here for the latest on this system in our Hurricane Tracker, which looks like this:

The Eastern Pacific basin extends to 140°W (as shown on the map above).

IMAGE: National Hurricane Center

The Atlantic basin tropical cyclone season begins June 1.

IMAGE: National Hurricane Center

IMAGE: National Hurricane Center

To prepare for our hurricane season in Virginia, next week is the tax break on many items you should stockpile in a safe place in the event a tropical system impacts us this year (remember Irene, anyone?). CLICK HERE to find out more about the items that qualify for the sales tax holiday next week.

Meteorologist Carrie Rose
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