Hurricane season: despite the early records, 98% of the storm activity is still ahead

So far, the Atlantic hurricane season 2020 is an example of why a simple count of the number of tropical storms and hurricanes do not tell the whole story, even if the next storm set a record for early appearance, writes

Сезон ураганов: несмотря на ранние рекорды, 98% штормовой активности еще впереди

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Five tropical storms have formed this season to 7 July.

Arthur and Bertha formed in may before the hurricane season “officially” began. This year became only the sixth since 1851, when before June 1, has already formed two storms with names reminiscent of the meteorologist Phil Klotzbach.

According to Klotzbach, Cristobal, and Edouard became the most early in the history of the third and fifth storm named accordingly.

So, hurricane season 2020 began at a record pace, ahead of an average season of about 8 weeks, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Short-term storms

A large number of storms still disguises the fact that these storms were short-lived. May 27 formed tropical storm Bertha just came in an hour came ashore near Charleston, South Carolina.

Tropical storm Dolly got its name on June 23, less than a day turned into residual phenomena. Less than two weeks later the same fate befell storm Edouard.

Meteorologists use a measure called the index of the ACE stands for “accumulated cyclone energy” — in order to not only counting named storms and hurricanes, but also take into account their intensity and duration. Long-lived, intense hurricanes have a high index of ACE, and short-lived, weak tropical storms is low.

Since these five tropical storms didn’t last long, it turns out that the ACE index is not abnormal in comparison with the average value to 7 July, according to data compiled by Climachem.

By this measure, 98% of the activity of the average hurricane season is still on time after 7 July.

If you consider hurricane season as a meal at your favorite restaurant — which are lacking in the pandemic COVID-19 — imagine that you already ordered food, sipping beverages, but the appetizers and the main dishes still to no avail.

Active season ahead

Seasonal forecasts continue to insist that in 2020 there will be a hyperactive hurricane season.

According to the latest forecast, published on 7 July by the University of Colorado, the season is expected to be 20 named storms, 9 of which are expected to become hurricanes, and 4 of them major hurricanes of category 3 or higher.

This forecast is far above the 30-year (1981-2010) average, with 13 named storms, 7 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes. It also includes 5 named storms that have formed this season, so meteorologists expect 15 named storms formed by the end of the hurricane season.

In other words, if the hurricane season began today, and five named storms have not been, the season still got activity would be above average, if the prediction is wrong. The latest CSU forecast consistent with the forecasts published earlier NOAA and The Weather Company, a division of IBM.

There are several factors that may play a role in the upcoming active season.

First, the vast area of the tropical and subtropical Atlantic ocean is warmer than average. According to the analysis conducted at the University of Miami, the Caribbean sea and some adjacent areas contain a reservoir of warm water under the surface, which is a kind of jet fuel for tropical storms and hurricanes. Klotzbach said that the lack of El niño and a strong West African monsoon is also conducive to the active season.

Why you should not rely on the counting of storms

Although a greater number of named storms and hurricanes increases the likelihood of their access to land, there is no clear correlation between the number of storms or hurricanes and the intensity of the season.

For example, the Atlantic season 2010 associated with the second largest number of hurricanes (12) and the third highest number of storms with names (19) in history. Despite all this, only one tropical storm that came ashore the U.S. mainland, and no hurricane.

Thus, the season was very active, but the impact on the mainland U.S. was relatively low: winds kept storms and hurricanes away from the coast.

It is quite inactive for the number of storms, the seasons can have quite different effects on the mainland.

The hurricane season of 1992 has made only 7 storms. However, one of them was hurricane Andrew, which received 5 category. He destroyed South Florida and became the most costly hurricane in U.S. history.

The 1983 season was even quieter than in 1992. Only four named storms — the weakest in the number of storms the Atlantic hurricane season since the 1930s. But one of these four storms was hurricane Alicia. This category 3 hurricane hit the Houston strong winds that smashed the glass of city skyscrapers, claimed 21 lives and in themselves were a disaster for a billion dollars.

Hurricane season can bring a lot of storms, but have little impact, or deliver few storms, but one or more of them will be serious. That’s why residents in the area of hurricanes needs to prepare for disaster each year regardless of the seasonal forecast.

A streak ended in a massive landfall

According to statistics from the research Department of the NOAA hurricane in USA in an average season goes on land from one to two hurricanes.

In 2019 in the United States came ashore two hurricane Barry in Louisiana and Dorian in North Carolina.

In 2018, four named storms struck the coastline of the United States, especially powerful was the hurricanes Florence and Michael collapsed on the beach with a difference in a month.

In 2017, seven named storms affected the coast of the United States, a particularly strong hurricane Harvey, Irma and Maria, which struck Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, respectively.

Before the United States had a bit more luck.

According to Alex Lamers, the expert of the National meteorological service, for 10 years (from 2006 to 2015) total number struck US hurricanes was 7. It was a record low for any 10-year period since 1850, and much lower than any average ten-year rate (17 storms). During this time none of the powerful hurricane made landfall.

Therefore, it is impossible to know whether there will be this season, a powerful hurricane kick. Even a weak tropical storm hitting the United States, can cause serious problems, especially if it moves slowly and causes floods due to heavy rains.


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