JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

'Tis the season! The National Hurricane Center in Miami is monitoring what is very likely to be the first named storm of the season in the east Pacific; and right on time, too. The season kicks off May 15th.

It's kind of a head scratcher to be talking about a possible tropical depression or storm while ice still covers 33% of Lake Superior---by far the largest extent ever recorded on the lake in May. 

Nonetheless, nature hath no reason that reason knows so underway the season goes.

This disturbance has been given the designation of Invest 90E by the NHC with the 'E' designating east for east Pacific. There is currently a 50/50 shot of this developing into a named system.

Normally we pay little attention to these storms but this one is worth monitoring due to the projected path. Current models take the moisture from this disturbance northeastward into the United States. Seen at right are the latest, yet preliminary, models on this system.

It's no surprise that the east Pacific is off to a fast start. Current guidance indicates that El Nino conditions are beginning to develop with a moderate to strong El Nino developing by late Summer. 

When an El Nino develops, it enhances the east Pacific hurricane season. Translation: it's likely to be busy. Very busy. On the flip side, El Nino all but dismantles the Atlantic hurricane season with increased wind shear which rips developing systems apart. Good news for the United States, kinda. Even in strong El Nino years, strong hurricanes have formed and hit. Hurricane Andrew in 1992 comes to mind.

If Invest 90E becomes a named system, it will be given the name Amanda. And in case you were wondering, the eastern Pacific has a different set of names than the Atlantic. The first name on the Atlantic naming list is Arthur.