First System Forms Before Atlantic Hurricane Season Officially Opens

May 25, 2010

The U.S. National Hurricane Center started tracking the first low pressure system of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season late Sunday, reminding energy and commodities traders of the coming storm season, which officially starts June 1 and ends Nov. 30.

The non-tropical low, located about 475 miles southwest of Bermuda, was producing a large area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean on Monday morning.

The NHC said the system has a medium chance, about 30 percent, of becoming a subtropical cyclone during the next 48 hours as it moves slowly toward the north-northwest and away from Florida and the oil rich Gulf of Mexico.

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will release its 2010 hurricane season forecast on Thursday.

The forecast is widely watched by energy and commodity markets for signs of potential weather disruptions to oil and gas installations in the Gulf of Mexico during the hurricane season.

The NHC is part of NOAA’s National Weather Service.

Some meteorologists have already predicted conditions are ripe for an unusually destructive hurricane season, which could also disrupt efforts to clean up BP’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Commodities traders also watch for storms that could damage agriculture crops such as citrus and cotton in Florida and other states along the coast to Texas.

In addition, the path of a storm can affect pricing of insurance-linked securities, which transfer insurance risks associated with natural disasters to capital markets investors.

(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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