A subtropical storm? In December? The first in nearly 10 years? And its name could've been Owen?
No such luck. After days of speculation, there will not be either a hurricane or tropical storm forming along the Atlantic Ocean soon, the hurricane center said Thursday.
Earlier this week, there was the threat of a rare subtropical storm slowly forming in the Atlantic - the first in almost a decade. The National Hurricane Center even issued a special tropical weather outlook as a low-pressure system continued "producing disorganized showers and thunderstorms" across the central Atlantic Ocean.
But weather conditions have changed.
Why won't there be a hurricane or tropical storm?
As of Thursday morning, the system was located about 925 miles east-southeast of Bermuda and continues to produce an extensive area of showers and thunderstorms, the center said.
The system remained embedded within a frontal zone and was expected to "become more pronounced later today," the hurricane center said, as the low began to move east-northeastward at 20 to 25 mph toward colder waters.
"Therefore, it is unlikely that the low will transition to a subtropical or tropical cyclone," the center said.
SUBTROPICAL STORM DEFINED?: How is it different from a tropical or extratropical system?
What is a subtropical storm?
A subtropical storm "typically has a large, cloud-free center of circulation, with very heavy thunderstorm activity in a band removed at least 100 miles from the center," that could also bring strong winds, according to the National Weather Service.
By contrast, a tropical storm is a low-pressure area with heavy rains and wind speeds sustained winds from 39 to 73 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service. When a storm reaches this strength, it's assigned a name.
This meant the storm brewing in the Atlantic had some work to do if it wanted to be called Owen.
"This tropical system is expected to be large, spanning hundreds of miles. As a result, wind and rough seas can extend well away from the center of the storm," said AccuWeather senior meteorologist Adam Douty.
On Tuesday, John Cangialosi, acting branch chief of the hurricane specialist unit at the National Hurricane Center said there was "a 50-50 chance," of a subtropical storm as "the best window" was between Wednesday and Thursday.
But, Cangialosi cautioned that if the storm did strengthen, "it will be very short-lived."
How rare would a storm be in December?
Even as it didn't pose a dire threat to land, the possible phenomena of a subtropical storm is still an infrequent phenomenon that's piqued the interest of forecasters, said Mark Bourassa, associate director for the Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies at Florida State University.
"We're just excited about it because it is so rare and unusual for this time of year," Bourassa said.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the last storm to become subtropical this late in a calendar year was an unnamed system in 2013.
And Cangialosi at the hurricane center doubted earlier this week that Owen would make any significant impact.
"There will be no real consequences," Cangialosi said.
How many storms have been named in 2022?
If the current low-pressure area develops into a tropical or subtropical system, it would be named the Owen.
So far this year, there have been 14 named storms: Alex, Bonnie, Colin, Danielle, Earl, Fiona, Gaston, Hermine, Ian, Julia, Karl, Martin and Nicole.
Three of those storms made landfall on the U.S. mainland: Colin, Ian and Nicole. Meanwhile, Hurricane Fiona struck Puerto Rico.
In 1953, the hurricane center started using female names for Atlantic storms. The names are decided "through a strict procedure" by the World Meteorological Organization, based in Geneva.
Male names were added in 1979, and since then, male and female names are alternated through the alphabet. There are no names that begin with Q, U, X, Y or Z.
A storm gets a name when it has sustained winds of 39 mph, meaning when it becomes a tropical storm. A storm becomes a hurricane when it reaches winds up to 74 mph.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: No hurricane or tropical storm will form in the Atlantic Ocean soon
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