Thursday, May 25, 2017

National Hurricane Center Says They're Bracing For A Busy Season

Severe flooding in North Carolina last year from Hurricane
Matthew. The National Hurrican Center says this year
could be another busy hurricane season. 
The NOAA's Climate Prediction Center   this morning said they are gearing up for a busier than normal hurricane season in the Atlantic basin.

Here's the scoop, straight from the source:

"Forecasters predict a 70 percent likelihood of 11 to 17 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher) of which five to nine could become hurricanes (winds of 74 or higher) includig 2 to 4 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph of higher) An average season produces 12 named storms of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes."

The official Atlantic tropical storm and hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, though you can get some out of this season. We already had one tropical storm this year, Arlene last month.

Whether a potentially busy hurricane season badly affects the United States is still an open question. If we get these extra tropical storms and hurricanes, will many of them hit the coastline, or will most of them stay harmlessly out to sea?

Believe it or not, we still haven't had a major hurricane (Category 3 or higher) make landfall in the United States in 12 year. That's a record long time.

However, as we well know, a hurricane doesn't have to be major, or cross the coastline to cause major trouble for us.

Last year, Major Hurricane Matthew stayed just offshore of Florida, and did not come ashore until it had weakened to a Category 1 storm with 75 mph winds in South Carolina.

Still, Matthew caused massive storm surge and river flooding in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas, causing about $10 billion in damage in the United States and another $5 billion in the Caribbean.

We in Vermont remember Hurricane Irene in 2011, which was a tropical storm by the time it reached us but still caused what was easily one of the Top 5 worst flood disasters in Vermont history.

NOAA bases its 2017 forecast on several factors. During the hurricane season, El Nino, the periodic warming of the eastern Pacific Ocean, is expected to be weak or non-existent.

El Ninos increase upper air wind shear, which tears apart wannabe hurricanes. Also, water temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea are warmer than average. Warmer water tends to encourage tropical storms and hurricanes

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