CNN  — 

Hurricane season could begin before its official start for a seventh year in a row in the Atlantic Ocean, as the National Hurricane Center monitors a weather system that could become this season’s first named storm.

The NHC announced its 2021 Atlantic hurricane season outlook Thursday afternoon, predicting an above average hurricane season.

If the system it is monitoring forms, it will become one of the 13 to 20 named storms the center is forecasting.

Thursday morning, the NHC noted a region in the North Atlantic, northeast of Bermuda, as an area to watch for subtropical development. The system, identified by the center as Invest 90L, has a high, 80% chance of formation by this weekend and a 90% chance by early next week. If it becomes a tropical or subtropical storm, it will be named Ana.

National Hurricane Center's Tropical Weather Outlook, highlighting one area to watch for potential development over North Atlantic Ocean.

The water temperatures are rather cool for a tropical cyclone to form, so if it does form it would likely be categorized as a subtropical cyclone.

“The low is expected to turn westward and west-southwestward over warmer waters tonight and Friday, and it will likely become a subtropical cyclone near and to the northeast of Bermuda on Friday,” the NHC said in its Thursday afternoon update.

Regardless of whether this system becomes a tropical or subtropical cyclone, there will not be significant impacts to land. Passing showers and gusty winds will be possible late in the week and into the weekend for Bermuda.

Preseason activity isn’t too unusual

This chance of development signals that hurricane season is just around the corner – and the time to watch the Atlantic Ocean for tropical systems is beginning.

The Atlantic hurricane season begins on June 1 and is six months long, lasting through November 30. In the past six years, however, tropical cyclones have formed before June 1.

Just last year, two tropical storms, Arthur and Berry, were named before the official start date.

The last time the name Ana was used was in 2015 – also before the start of hurricane season. Ana became a tropical storm in early May 2015, and made landfall near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

“Named storms have formed prior to the official start of the hurricane season in about half of the past 10-15 years, including each of the past six years,” said Dennis Feltgen, communications and public affairs officer at the NHC.

“Many of the May systems are short-lived, hybrid (subtropical) systems that are now being identified because of better monitoring and policy changes that now name subtropical storms,” Feltgen added.

This has prompted the National Hurricane Center to start issuing its Tropical Weather Outlooks on May 15 instead of June 1.

Tropical Weather Outlooks are issued four times a day, highlighting any areas to watch for potential development of a tropical storm or depression. “These outlooks provide a notice alert that NHC is monitoring one or more disturbances that have the potential (low, medium high) for tropical cyclone development during the next 48 hours and five days,” Feltgen told CNN.

The first named storm typically doesn’t form in the Atlantic until July 9, according to the NHC. It’s not until mid-August when the first hurricane usually forms. August, September and October are the most active months for tropical storm and hurricane activity.