Friday, July 29, 2016
Atlantic Hurricane Season Ramping Up
They may or may not, and even if they do, chances - so far anyway - indicate they won't hit the United States.
But the fact there are suddenly two areas out in that part of Atlantic that the National Hurricane Center is watching means we are now getting into the meat of the hurricane season.
Tropical storms can form almost anywhere in the Atlantic where the water temperature is warm enough. (These storms need very warm water to survive)
Once you get into August and September, though, potentially the most dangerous storms form.
During this time of year, weather disturbances move westward and emerge off the west coast of Africa into the Atlantic.
Some of these disturbances make a long journey westward, and a few of those take advantage of warm water and favorable atmospherics to become hurricanes. Since these storms are out over water for so long, they have plenty of time to develop.
These storms are called Cape Verde hurricanes because they originate near that area. If the Cape Verde hurricanes can hang together, and not get ripped apart by high winds in the upper reaches of the atmosphere, or curve northward as many do, the can cause real trouble for the United States.
Many of the worst hurricanes in American history were Cape Verde hurricanes. This includes a Florida hurricane in 1928 that killed more than 1,800 people, and the Great Long Island/New England hurricane of 1938 that killed more than 600 people.
Cape Verde hurricanes can strike the United States anywhere along the Atlantic Coast between Brownsville, Texas and Eastport, Maine.
If you live anywhere along the coast, now is the time to see if you've got the supplies or readiness to prepare your property for a hurricane. You don't want to start that if and when such a storm is already heading your way.
By the way, much of the tropical Atlantic Ocean is toasty warm - warmer than normal. That is one factor that could make this year's Cape Verde hurricanes this year perhaps more frequent and stronger than they otherwise would be.
Plus, it's been a decade since a major hurricane has made landfall in the United States, so we're overdue. It's the roll of the dice.