It’s June every year at this time: the sun’s heated back up enough to give it its full heat, the tropics have met and gone somewhere else, the air’s gotten dryer than a politician’s voice, and … guess what? The Atlantic hurricane season is starting!
It may not be what you’ve heard, but it’s still going.
On June 1, forecasters began the alphabetically-ordered calendar year by having the worst start to a hurricane season in decades, including two strike-level hurricanes (Tropical Storm Alberto and Hurricane Alberto) during its first 10 days.
Mother Nature has already dealt us some shivers.
Two consecutive warm-weather typhoons have started to churn out the backside of the brewing disturbance in the Atlantic.
And the folks who make the hurricane-prediction models are predicting more of the same. The forecast keeps getting busier, and it’s getting sunnier.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s seasonal outlook promises a 46-57 percent chance of storm formation. We’re not certain of that prediction yet.
Just because these storm systems are less likely to create stronger hurricanes this year doesn’t mean you should start worrying about them yet.
Temperatures still need to warm. The record Atlantic hurricane season in 2010 featured a 12-month average of about 18 named storms (described as a “superspread of waves and low-level winds”) and eight of those developed into hurricanes.
And no hurricane landfall ever registered in Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Georgia, South Carolina, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, Illinois, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, Missouri, Alabama, North Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey, South Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, South Carolina, Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Maine, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Only 26 storms, and six hurricanes, hit the continental United States from 1851 to 2002.
There’s always a tropical storm or hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico before it hits Florida, Alabama or the Carolinas, even though they aren’t really storms, they’re tropical depressions.
Cooler water is important in a hurricane’s life cycle. Unlike most other weather systems, hurricanes emerge from one warm spot and move towards cooler waters. Hurricanes get lift from warmer air. Heat and lifting allow them to creep up along warm water and then at high-pressure systems along the way. If a hurricane bumps into a cold spot and storms shut down to avoid getting too warm, the storm has less fuel to keep moving.