Hurricanes & Tropical Storms - April 2003
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|The first tropical storm of the year, named Ana (shown left), formed more than five weeks before the official start of the hurricane season in 2003. The Atlantic hurricane season officially begins on June 1st, but a sub-tropical storm developed on April 20th and became a tropical storm on the 22nd. Maximum sustained winds reached 50 mph (80 km/hr, 45 knots) and the storm dissipated on the 23rd without nearing land. While tropical storms can form throughout the year in the North Atlantic, they are comparatively rare between the beginning of December and the end of May. Ana was the earliest storm of the Atlantic hurricane season since 1978 and the only tropical storm on record ever to have formed in April in the Atlantic Basin. According to NOAA's National Hurricane Center, the season's earliest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded was on March 7th, 1908, while the latest was on December 31st, 1954, which persisted into January 1955.|