Tropical Storm Arlene, the first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, formed Friday in the Gulf of Mexico on a track taking the cyclone south toward the western tip of Cuba.
National Hurricane Center forecasters said in a 1:30 p.m. advisory that Arlene had sustained winds of 40 mph and was located about 265 miles west of Fort Myers, Florida. It’s moving south at about 5 mph.
No storm watches or warnings have been posted for Cuba or Florida. Forecasters say the storm could fall apart before reaching any land.
“We still expect Arlene to weaken soon due to increasing wind shear and dry air,” forecsasters said in a statement.
Tropical storms have winds of at least 39 mph; anything 74 mph or higher is designated a hurricane.
The Atlantic hurricane season officially began Thursday and runs through Nov. 30. Last year’s season had 14 named storms, with extensive damage caused by Hurricanes Ian, Nicole and Fiona.