Infrared satellite image of the tropical disturbance off Mexico's Pacific coast on May 8, 2014 at 7:00 a.m. ET.
The 2014 hurricane season almost had an early start.
The official eastern Pacific hurricane season doesn't kick off until May 15, but a cluster of thunderstorms festered off Mexico's Pacific coast from May 6-8, drawing our attention.
While National Hurricane Center (NHC) meteorologists analyzed a surface low pressure center, increasing wind shear – in this case, stronger winds aloft than near the surface – took its toll, displacing thunderstorms to the northeast of the surface low. Lacking colocation of thunderstorms with surface low pressure, a tropical depression did not form.
During the 2013 hurricane season, Acapulco, Mexico, was swamped by flooding from Hurricane Manuel.
Tracks of tropical storms and hurricanes developing before the start of the eastern Pacific hurricane season (before May 15) in records dating to 1949. (National Hurricane Center)
How Unusual Would This Have Been?
If this disturbance would have managed to become a tropical depression or storm this would have been the earliest tropical cyclone of record in the eastern Pacific basin, dating to 1949.
Only three (eastern Pacific) storms have ever been recorded before the start of the eastern Pacific hurricane season, according to hurricane specialist Michael Lowry (Twitter) of The Weather Channel.
In 1990, Alma became a tropical depression on May 12, then a tropical storm the next day and a hurricane on the morning of May 15.
More recently, Aletta jumped the gun on the season, becoming a tropical depression, then tropical storm on May 14, 2012.
In 2013, Tropical Storm Alvin developed on May 15.