(CNN) — The first tropical storm of the 2021 eastern Pacific hurricane season formed off the southwest coast of Mexico on Sunday.
Tropical Storm Andres is the earliest tropical storm to ever form during the satellite era in the eastern Pacific, surpassing Adrian in 2017. Andres also holds the distinction of developing before the official start of eastern Pacific hurricane season, which begins on May 15.
It’s not the first time a tropical system has developed before the official start of hurricane season. The eastern Pacific has had either a tropical depression or tropical storm form prior to the official season in three of the last five years.
This system began developing on Friday, and has since strengthened into a tropical storm. Tropical Storm Andres currently has sustained winds of 40 mph and is tracking to the northwest at 6 mph.
“Increasing southwesterly to westerly shear and drier air to the west of the cyclone should prevent any significant additional strengthening,” the National Hurricane Center said Sunday.
The system is forecast to maintain tropical storm strength through Monday morning. Gradual weakening of the storm is forecast to begin on Monday, with the system becoming a remnant low on Tuesday while traversing the eastern Pacific waters.
Hurricane season begins early
The Pacific is not the only ocean basin that has seen pre-season tropical activity in recent years. For the last six years the Atlantic has also seen at least one named tropical system form prior to the official start of the season on June 1. And another above-average Atlantic hurricane season is expected this year.
That’s why the National Hurricane Center has decided that beginning this year it will issue its routine “tropical weather outlook” products beginning May 15 — to better serve the communities hit by early season tropical systems.
Regardless of which ocean basin you live near, it only takes one storm for the season to be impactful. So it’s crucial to start preparing for hurricane season now.
That can be done by reviewing your evacuation plans and ensuring your evacuation kit is up to date. Some areas that were hard hit in 2020 may still be recovering, and some roads or bridges are still being repaired.
“You can also make a list of items to replenish hurricane emergency supplies and start thinking about how you will prepare your home for the coming hurricane season,” the hurricane center said.
National Hurricane Preparedness Week runs from May 9 to May 15, when daily themes will help people plan for the upcoming season.