Despite its proximity to the Outer Banks, the average beachgoer wouldn't have known about the latest tropical system without a satellite picture.
On Monday morning, the National Hurricane Center designated Tropical Depression Two 105 miles east of Cape Hatteras. It had maximum sustained winds of 35 mph and was moving toward the northeast at a brisk 21 mph.
Mostly sunny and pleasant conditions prevailed at the beaches of North Carolina and Virginia, but the National Weather Service cautioned that there was a moderate risk of rip currents.
The depression is projected to strengthen to 50 mph by Tuesday morning, which would merit an upgrade to Tropical Storm Bill. But it's destined to be short-lived and pose no threat to land as it hurries off to the northeast through open waters. By Tuesday night, the NHC's forecast has it fading away east of Nova Scotia.
It's as if this tropical system is playing out in the reverse fashion.
The familiar case goes like this: a storm makes its way up to our region, gets caught up in a front and deposits flooding rains as it dissipates.
This time, the tropical swirl off the Eastern Seaboard has at least some meteorological DNA from that front and slow-moving upper low that drenched parts of our region late last week.
The disturbed weather moseyed offshore over the weekend. After spending some time over the warmer waters of the Gulf Stream, thunderstorms erupted and tightened into a defined circulation.
That's not an unprecedented way to get an early-season storm, but the next one might take the most typical route.
A more distant and still-undefined system in the southern Gulf of Mexico would be the only one with any shot of eventually bringing us some tropical rainfall, perhaps early next week.
But it’s such a long way off, it’s still not even clear how much of its moisture would make it up to Virginia, or even what parts of the Gulf Coast would feel its effects first.
There should be a clearer picture by Thursday or Friday.
Meteorologists have been keeping an eye on this area for longer, as the Bay of Campeche is one of the typical June trouble spots along with the western Caribbean Sea.
Assuming the depression off the Eastern Seaboard becomes Bill first, that Gulf system would then go by the name Claudette, if or when it acquires sustained winds of 39 mph.
There’s another tropical wave with some growth potential over the eastern Atlantic, west of Guinea and Sierra Leone. That stretch of sea can be a hotbed in August and September, but activity is highly unusual there in June. Due to dry air, cooler waters and shearing winds in its path, the NHC only gives it a 20% chance of developing as it moves westward over the next 5 days.
This year's name list continues with Danny, Elsa and Fred.
Last year we were up to Cristobal by early June, then Dolly came along on June 23. Neither affected Virginia.
The first storm of the 2021 season, Ana, harmlessly spun northeast of Bermuda for a couple of days in mid-May.
It’s less common to see a full blown hurricane in June, but they are known to happen.
The most recent June hurricane in the Atlantic basin was Chris in 2012, which did not hit land.
It's been 35 years since the last June hurricane strike in the United Sates, when Bonnie made landfall in Texas.
The strongest was Category 3 Audrey, which slammed into Louisiana in June 1957.
The most memorable June hurricane for the Eastern Seaboard was Agnes in 1972, which left behind massive flooding, including on the James River in Richmond.