The first tropical depression of the year has formed off the east coast of central Florida, according to the National Hurricane Center Saturday afternoon.
The storm is forecasted to become Tropical Storm Arthur, the first named storm of the the hurricane season that technically doesn't begin until June 1st.
Forecast models show the storm will continue moving away from Florida, as a Tropical Storm watch has been issued for North Carolina for close approach on Monday.
It's not uncommon to have a named storm before the official start of hurricane season. However, pre-season storm formation does not serve as a signal to what the upcoming season may bring. The last five seasons have all featured named systems before the official start.
The forecast led Florida emergency management officials to close 14 state-run COVID-19 test sites on Friday. The sites in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Brevard counties will reopen on Monday.
Helen Aguirre Ferré, the communications director for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, said on Twitter that it's the right move. “With possible wind gusts of 40 mph, it is best for public safety to reopen on Monday. It’s also common sense," she tweeted Thursday night.
State officials have said Florida is currently testing 16,000 to 24,000 people a day for the coronavirus.
Closing the testing sites for the entire weekend will give officials time to break down and set up tables, tents and other equipment at each location, Jason Mahon, communications director for the Florida Division of Emergency Management, told the Miami Herald.
Even though the anticipated weather is expected to move through the area by later in the weekend, Mahon noted that the sites would remain closed Sunday “to allow staff to set up the sites after the conditions have passed.”