(RNN) - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will release their predictions for the 2018 Hurricane season Thursday as they eye the northern Gulf Coast, which could experience its first tropical system of the season in the next five days, the National Hurricane Center said.
NOAA predicted an above average 2017 Atlantic Hurricane season - which delivered with 17 named storms. It was the seventh-most active season since records began in 1851, NOAA said.
The northern Gulf Coast could experience its first tropical system of the season in the next five days, the National Hurricane Center said.
A system near the Yucatan peninsula has a 80-percent chance of developing into a tropical cyclone or subtropical system in the next five days as environmental conditions become more conducive for development.
If the steady bands of rain develop into a tropical depression or tropical storm, its name will be Alberto. However, the storm will present more of a rain threat than a wind threat.
Hurricane season officially begins on June 1, but a tropical storm can form before then, just as it did before the past three hurricane seasons.
Atmospheric scientist Michael Lowry said the "A" storm has formed as early as January and as late as August.
The 2017 hurricane season was brutal.
Nearly all the damage came from three major hurricanes – Harvey, Irma and Maria.
Harvey battered the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Central America. It dumped catastrophic rainfall on the Houston area, causing $125 billion in damage.
900 AM EDT: Here are the key messages for the disturbance near the Yucatan Peninsula (#90L). For now, heavy rain and rip currents are the main threats through Memorial Day Weekend. pic.twitter.com/Hb0d8ZU3WL
— NHC Atlantic Ops (@NHC_Atlantic) May 24, 2018
Hurricanes Irma and Maria whipped the Caribbean, while Irma cut a path of destruction from St. Martin into Florida.
Since 1960 the earliest forming named storm was Alex in 2016 (January 12th), and the latest forming storm was Arlene in 1967 (August 30th).
— Michael Lowry (@MichaelRLowry) May 14, 2018
Maria devastated Puerto Rico and Dominica. It’s considered among worst natural disasters to hit the islands. Large swaths of Puerto Rico are still without power.
— Philip Klotzbach (@philklotzbach) May 2, 2018
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