Season's First Storm Forms

May 10, 2007
Update, 11 p.m.: Andrea has been downgraded to a tropical depression; this will be our last post on this storm system, which kicked off the season early -- but thankfully did not affect cruises.

(May 9) -- The official start of 2007's Atlantic hurricane season may be three weeks away -- but tell that to Subtropical Storm Andrea, the year's first named storm churning about 140 miles southeast of Savannah, Georgia.

What's the difference between subtropical and tropical storms? According to Reuters, subtropical storms do not have quite the same warm core as tropical storms, and lack organized thunderstorm activity. The next step after tropical storm is Category One hurricane status.

Andrea may not become tropical; at this point, officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Hurricane Center do not expect the system to strengthen, and the heaviest rains will be offshore. However, the storm is whipping up heavy surf along the coasts of Georgia, the Carolinas and Florida. We'll be keeping an eye on cruise ports in the area, such as Charleston and Jacksonville.

The Atlantic hurricane season officially begins on June 1; the National Hurricane Center will issue their official predictions on May 22, but early reports indicate an active season. Stay tuned to Cruise Critic News for the latest -- and don't miss the re-launch of our information-packed Hurricane Zone later this month!

--by Melissa Baldwin, Senior Editor