Tropical Storm Bret

Published 11:04 am Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Residents in Mississippi and other Gulf Coast states closely monitor the development of Tropical Storm Bret, which formed in the central Atlantic Ocean on Monday. The National Hurricane Center named Bret when it was approximately midway between Africa and the Lesser Antilles, with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph and a westward movement of 21 mph.

Satellite images taken on Monday revealed a robust and strengthening tropical system. As of Tuesday morning, Bret maintained maximum sustained winds of 40 mph, but its westward movement had slowed to 17 mph. The storm acquired its name once its sustained winds reached 39 mph and displayed an organized center of circulation. There is a possibility that Bret could strengthen further and potentially become the first hurricane of the 2023 Atlantic season before approaching the eastern Caribbean.

The formation of a tropical system in this region from a tropical wave originating in Africa is unusually early. Typically, these systems, known as Cabo Verde systems, develop between August and September, considered the heart of the hurricane season. However, meteorologists have noted that while rare, it is not unprecedented for a storm to form over the south-central Atlantic in June. Over the past 25 years, only a few tropical systems have developed in this zone during June.

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