It’s hard not to recall the gloomy hurricane predictions issued a couple months back. One of the most active seasons we’ve seen in years was the consensus from forecasters, notably NOAA and the University of Colorado. With barely a surface scratch so far, it’s tempting to think that the forecasts were way wrong. Not wise to go there yet, however.
Tropical storms and hurricanes typically don’t crank up until August and September. Historically, just 13 percent of such storms form prior to the last week of July, meaning a huge 87% of storms, on average, form after this point in the season.
That said, it does look rather tame in the tropical waters right now. Wind currents are not favoring any development, and sea surface temperatures, while quite warm over a large stretch of the tropical Atlantic, are otherwise just “normal” over most of the subtropical Atlantic and Gulf.
La Nina, a cooling of Pacific temperatures near South America, is becoming well-established, and represents a sharp reversal of the El Nino conditions seen down there this past winter and spring. This was expected, and played into the high-octane forecasts. Since it is in fact happening, it seems likely that this hurricane season will get going a bit more aggressively within the next few weeks. But will it be “extreme”, as predicted? I have my doubts, but we’ll see.
* Jim Duncan