The 2010 Atlantic Basin hurricane season does not get underway until June 1.
The earlier start time in the eastern Pacific reflects how this basin typically turns active faster than the Atlantic. On average, June 9 is when the first tropical storm is named in the eastern Pacific. In the Atlantic, that date is July 10.
The first tropical storm to develop in the eastern Pacific this year will acquire the name "Agatha." The basin, however, is currently quiet.
Hurricanes typically develop much quicker in the eastern Pacific than the Atlantic. The average first date for a hurricane to form in the eastern Pacific is June 24, but not until Aug. 14 in the Atlantic.
The eastern Pacific is historically the most active of the two basins. On average, 15 tropical storms are named each season. Out of those, nine become hurricanes with four reaching major hurricane status.
Despite the eastern Pacific being rather active, the majority of tropical storms and hurricanes never threaten land. A typical eastern Pacific tropical system will head westward into the open and progressively cooler waters of the Pacific, dissipating in the process.
Occasionally, tropical storms and hurricanes will target Mexico and parts of central America. Though less frequently, some tropical systems have passed through Hawaii. Hurricane Felicia approached Hawaii last year, but weakened below tropical depression status prior to reaching the islands.
Since records began, the cool water that lies offshore of California has protected the state from direct hits from tropical storms and hurricanes every season but one. In September 1939, an unnamed tropical storm pressed onshore at Long Beach, Calif., with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph.
Two other storms have moved into Arizona at tropical storm strength. The first was once-Hurricane Joanne in October 1972, followed by once-Hurricane Kathleen in September 1976.
No systems have reached the Southwest at hurricane strength.
Story by AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski