The Countdown Is On!
Less than 24 days remain in the “off season,” and the countdown is on until Hurricane Season begins in the Atlantic. The climate predictors and the forecasts from numerous agencies show that this upcoming hurricane season will be an above average hurricane season in terms of the number of cyclones. Taking the average of the CSU, TSR, NCSU, and WSI hurricane season forecasts, one comes up with an average forecast of 16 tropical storms, 9 hurricanes of all categories, and 4 hurricanes with a category greater than 2. The 1981-2010 average is 12/6/3.
How will it get started? Well, generally the month of May is quiet for the Atlantic. Only 38 tropical cyclones have occurred in May since the beginning of the official record in 1851. That’s one cyclone every 4 years or so. You may remember that last year hosted two storms in the Atlantic during May: Alberto, a moderate tropical storm off the coast of the southeastern United States, and Beryl, a strong tropical storm which made landfall near Jacksonville Beach, Florida.
Below I have compiled all of the tropical storms that occurred in May over the last 40 years, with the exception of Alberto and Beryl:
The only real connection between them all is that they all were tropical or subtropical storms, and never became hurricanes. They all generally originated near land, and probably originated from decaying frontal boundaries.
What does that mean for this year?
Probably not a whole lot. If one looks at stats, we are not “due” climatologically for a may system. We should be looking at the Loop/Yucatan Current and Gulf Stream for any genesis that may or may not occur. There is nothing in the long range models to suggest an early start to the hurricane season, however one of the climatological variables suggests that moisture may be on the increase toward the end of the month in the Atlantic basin.
In other news:
Tomorrow, I will begin my summer internship with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters. I hope that it will be an experience that I can directly share with you all, but I will certainly share new found knowledge as I cover each tropical system throughout the season.
You can always follow me on twitter (@JonathanBelles) and Google + throughout this season for the latest. During the next couple of weeks, expect updates on this site and on all of my social medium.
– Multimedia Meteorologist Jonathan Belles