LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – This past week, areas in south Florida experienced heavy rainfall, flash flooding and tropical-storm-force winds.

However, the National Hurricane Center only classified the system as a tropical storm after it left the state.

We are 8 days into the 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season and we already had our first named storm. The system was named Tropical Storm Alex but was only given the name after it rolled through areas in Southern Florida.

This is pretty interesting, considering that the system brought over 10 inches of rain to areas outside of Miami, and Tropical Storm force winds to the area we well, but all that time it was never actually classified as a Tropical Storm.

Instead, the National Hurricane Center referred to the storm as Potential Tropical Cyclone One, this is a fairly new definition used to describe a disturbance that is not yet a Tropical Cyclone but poses the threat of bringing Tropical Storm or Hurricane Condition to land within the next 48 hours.

Wait a second… If it brought Tropical Storm force winds to the area, why did officials wait until after it left the U.S to categorize the system as a Tropical Storm?

Turns out that a cyclone needs to have three things before it can meet Tropical Storm Criteria. The system not only needs to have sustained maximum winds greater than 39 miles per hour. But also, a closed and well-defined center of circulation at the surface and have organized thunderstorms around that center.

In the case of Potential Tropical Cyclone One, the so-called “center” was always broad and never completely closed off, and the thunderstorms that were experienced were well to the east of the broad center.

Even though it brought Tropical Storm force winds to the area, it fell short when it came to those two other requirements.

Now once the system left the United States and was off in the Mid-Atlantic that is when that center became closed off and well defined, and thunderstorms generated closer to that center. This is why officials gave the storm the name Tropical Storm Alex after it left the United States.