ORLANDO, Fla. — Since before the season started, the Atlantic Basin hurricane season was already breaking records. In May, Arthur and Bertha formed, making it the sixth consecutive year with pre-season storm formation. Tropical Storm Cristobal was right on time, acquiring its name on June 1 and becoming the earliest named C storm in records. On June 22, Dolly became the earliest fourth named storms in a season. on July 6, Tropical Storm Edouard developed near Bermuda, also becoming the earliest E named system on record, beating the previous record established by Hurricane Emily in 2005 by 5 days.
¡Esta nota en español! Resumen de los trópicos: ¿Qué está pasando? ¿A dónde van? ¿Que se espera?
Another 2005 record that was beat was by Tropical Storm Fay, as it became the earliest F named storm in records. And to continue the trend, Tropical Storm Hanna was officially baptized late Thursday with its name, becoming the earliest H storm on record, beating the previous record established 2005′s Harvey, by 10 days.
The silver lining is that there has not been a single hurricane this season, so far. Even with 8 systems named so far, none has reached hurricane status (as of Friday afternoon), and this has not happened since 2011. Hanna is forecast to intensify briefly on Saturday and could cancel this record.
But we know that the season’s most active months (climatologically) are just around the corner. Historically, for the Atlantic hurricane season, 84 percent of hurricanes form between August and October. We also know that in August, on average we have about 2 named systems, and in September about 3.5 systems, on average.
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As we come into the last week of July let’s review what’s happening now and how are the patterns looking for the most active months ahead:
Tropical Storm Hanna will make landfall just south of Corpus Christi on Saturday. Heavy rainfall is expected for southern Texas and northern Mexico. Significant amounts are still possible through the coast of Louisiana as rain bands will bring plenty of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. The latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center calls for Hanna to briefly intensify to a Hurricane before making landfall.
Tropical Storm Gonzalo was predicted to become the first hurricane of the season, but the window for intensification has closed. It is approaching the southern island of the windward islands, Grenada. It will go through the region as a tropical storm, but once it emerges over the Caribbean, this system will be attacked by much drier air and lots of wind shear, which will rob its strength and structure, likely dissipating it by Monday just northwest of Aruba. Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic could get some rain associated with this system, but nothing too far off from the ordinary this time of the year.
There is a vigorous tropical wave emerging from Africa. This system, although it has not a chance to develop in the short-term, once it gets halfway between the Caribbean and Africa could develop into a tropical system; either depression or tropical storm. So far, this system is forecast to follow Gonzalo’s footsteps but after it crosses the center of the Atlantic it could start to shift a bit more north. Meteorological models at this point are far from agreement. The European model places a stronger system north of Hispaniola by the first weekend of August and the American model (GFS) as a much weaker system over the Caribbean, south of Hispaniola. It is way too early for either system to have a good grip on a possible outcome. We have plenty of time to monitor.
HOW ARE THE WEATHER PATTERNS & DATA LOOKING?
All signs are pointing to more activity in the next two months. Historically this is what usually happens anyway, but there are weather patterns and features in place that signal to more robust activity in the Atlantic Basin in the coming months.
First, sea surface water temperatures as well above average for this time fo the year. The have been well above average since before the season even started and we can assume that they will continue to be this way through the hottest months of the year. With hotter water temperatures there is more fuel for systems to intensify, this is a fact.
Easterly African waves will be fed lots of moisture from a very active African monsoon. Expect more robust waves emerging from Africa during the next few months, when climatologically the waves start emerging from the area and there are better chances of a system to develop from them.
Also, a stronger, more western-positioned Bermuda high will tend to prohibit storms from moving northward sooner and more frequently. For this reason, it is important to have a plan now in case a tropical storm or hurricane threatens your area.
There is also the possibility of La Niña, which even though it brings less activity over the Pacific Basin, relaxes the wind shear over the Atlantic, allowing storms to continue their structuring and intensification cycles more smoothly.
From the trend we have already seen from this year’s storms and conditions, similar years in the past were 1998, 2005, and 2007. It is important to point out that the conditions are the same but the landfalls might differ.
As Floridians, we know that hurricanes are part of our lives, but fear and worrying should not be part of our lives. We are monitoring each system closely and will continue to monitor throughout the season to bring you the most reliable information. You can count on us to be honest and factual about a storm’s threats.
Entérese del pronóstico del tiempo, en español, por nuestra meteoróloga Irene Sans
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