Rarity of June hurricane: Hurricane Bret looming in forecast would be 3rd in history east of Caribbean islands

The 2023 Atlantic hurricane season began on June 1, and it has already gotten off to an active start with the development of Tropical Storm Arlene on June 2 and Tropical Depression Three on Monday.

The National Hurricane Center says the depression is expected to become Tropical Storm Bret later on Monday and could reach hurricane strength by the middle of the week.

It’s rare for multiple disturbances to develop into tropical storms this early in the season, as the first named storm doesn't typically form until June 20.

And if Tropical Depression Three strengthens into a hurricane, it would be even rarer. It usually takes until Aug. 11 to see the season's first hurricane in the Atlantic.

‘Rather rare June event’

The month of June is usually not very active in the tropics, and any named storms that do form typically develop closer to the U.S. in the Gulf of Mexico, the western Caribbean Sea, and near the Southeast and mid-Atlantic coasts.

Between 1851 and 2020, only 6% of all tropical storms and 2% of all hurricanes roamed the Atlantic during June, according to data from NOAA's Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory.

Tropical Depression Three moved off the coast of Africa last week, and that's not something typically seen in June.

"This is a rather rare June event," FOX Weather meteorologist Kendall Smith said. "We typically see systems kind of forming right off the coast of Africa tracking through what we call the MDR, the Main Development Region, typically in August. We are well ahead of schedule. That’s also why this is a big cause for concern."

Only 4 named storms formed east of the Lesser Antilles in June


According to records dating back to 1850, there have been two tropical storms and two hurricanes that formed east of the Lesser Antilles in June.

One of those hurricanes was the 1933 Trinidad Hurricane, and the second was Hurricane Elsa in 2021.

If Tropical Depression Three strengthens into Hurricane Bret, it would be only the third hurricane on record to form that far east during the month of June.