Thursday, May 26, 2016

Tropical Threats, Storms, Heat: Summer Is Here

I guess we can safely say summer is here.
Various computer models hint at a possible
tropical storm heading into the Carolinas this weekend.  

Oh sure, there will be some cool spells locally here in Vermont and elsewhere in the country, but we've hit a few milestones that say it's the hot season.

Here are a few:


The Atlantic hurricane season officially runs from June 1 to November 30, but you can sometimes get storms before and after those dates.  

We actually briefly had a weird one, Hurricane Alex, back in January over the eastern Atlantic. It made a very rare landfall in the Azores. 

Tropical storms and hurricanes are most likely in the summer and fall, though, when ocean waters are warmest.

They're already warming up, and now,  before the June 1 officials start date, we might end up with Tropical or Sub-tropical Bonnie.

The National Hurricane Center says there's a disturbance northeast of the Bahamas, and conditions out there could allow this to become a tropical or subtropical storm by the weekend.

A subtropical storm, by the way, is a hybrid with characteristics of both a tropical storm and a regular old low pressure system. Tropical storms and hurricanes purely have warm cores, subtropical storms have elements of warm cores, and colder centers typical of plain storms.

Anyway, whatever this thing is would head northwestward, and threaten the Carolina coasts this weekend.

I really doubt the would-be Bonnie will become a hurricane, but there's potential there for gusty winds and heavy rains in parts of the Southeast in a few days.

It's only May and we already might be up to the letter "B" in the alphabetical list of Atlantic tropical storms.

This does not necessarily mean the hurricane season as a whole will be busy. However, El Nino, which suppresses Atlantic hurricanes is waning. It might be replaced by the opposite pattern, La Nina, but early fall, and that could encourage hurricanes.

We'll see.


After a relatively cool April and early May, summer weather has hit the Northeast, including here in Vermont.

Tuesday was a strange day, with mid summer heat in the mid-80s in the northwest corner of Vermont where I live, while it was cloudy and in the low 60s in the normally warmer southeastern part of the state.

Wednesday, we all shared in the summer warmth. Burlington got up to 84 degrees, the hottest so far this year. A few cities in the Northeast hit 90 for the first time this year.

It's going to get hotter for awhile, too.
This weekend in Vermont is going to feature
 summer weather. Very warm, humid and scattered
thunderstorms. A few storms might be strong.
This is a thunderstorm near Fairfield, Vermont last summer.  

Many places across the Northeast will hit 90 Friday and Saturday. Here in Vermont, there could be a couple 90s popping up as well. Official forecasts have highs in the mid to upper 80s on both days.

However, it's been dry, and that tends to allow temperatures to rise further than they normally would.

If it stays mainly sunny Friday and Saturday and afternoon thunderstorms don't get going until after, say 4:30 or 5 p.m., we could get to 90.

(More on those potential storms in a minute)

There's also concern about the Vermont City Marathon in Burlington, Vermont Sunday.  It will be a little cooler Sunday, but still hot - near 80 degrees - and kinda humid for people running 26.2 miles. That can be dangerous for long distance runners.

Race organizers are urging participants to prepare for the weather and especially stay hydrated during the race.

Typical mid-summer warmth is forecast to last into the middle of next week.


A hallmark of summer in the Northeast are the occasional strong to severe thunderstorm. You know the drill: It's a hot and humid summer day, and then in the mid or late afternoon or evening, we get a nice big thunderstorms.

Sometimes they're just splash and dash type of things, and sometimes they cause strong winds, hail, lightning and flash floods.

There is the chance of strong storms Friday and Saturday in Vermont and other parts of the Northeast, but there's not going to be a widespread outbreak of severe weather.

Still, heads up!

NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has a marginal risk for severe storms Friday afternoon in northern New York and in Vermont and New Hampshire.

Hot weather, combined with cool pockets of air in the upper atmosphere, will undoubtedly set off some thunderstorms. Most will be garden variety, no biggie. But a couple towns could get some damaging wind gusts out of this.

The same kind of thing might happen Saturday afternoon. There's also a chance of storms Sunday and Monday, but it's too soon to figure out how widespread or strong they might be.

Stay tuned, and welcome to summer.

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