While the Carolinas brace for Tropical Storm Ana — the first named storm this year in the Atlantic — the Plains states are keeping a vigil for a possible repeat of powerful tornadoes that swept through the region earlier in the week.
Forecasters are warning of dangerous surf and rip tides and possible flooding in some coastal areas as Ana moves toward landfall early Sunday morning.
At 8 a.m. EDT today, Ana, packing top winds of 60 mph, was centered about 115 miles south of Wilmington, N.C., and about 100 miles southeast of Myrtle Beach, S.C., the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami says.
Although the Atlantic hurricane season doesn't officially begin until June 1, Senior Hurricane Specialist Stacy Stewart told The Associated Press that such an early storm is not all that unusual.
"We had a similar situation occur twice back in 2012 when we had two early season tropical storms, Alberto and Beryl," Stewart noted of two storms that also emerged in the month of May, according to AP. "That was very unusual to get two storms before the normal start of the hurricane season; one is not that unusual."
Meanwhile, Weather Underground says that "a vigorous area of low pressure will shift eastward across the Four Corners and the southern Plains. As this system collides with warm, muggy air from the Gulf of Mexico, strong to severe thunderstorms will fire up over a handful of states," including Texas, Oklahoma, northwest Arkansas, western Missouri, Kansas, southern Nebraska and eastern Colorado.
Large hail, dangerous winds and isolated tornadoes are in the offing, Weather Underground says.