August 11, 2010

Hurricane Frequency Peaks in September

While it seems like the hurricane season has been average so far, the storms we have seen are indicators that this will be a major hurricane season.

According to Meteorologist Mark Mancuso, "We've already seen some activity... when we do see a system that comes through early, like Alex did... that's an indicator that there are variables out there that are favorable for an active season,".

Traditionally, seasons that are considered "active" in terms of tropical storms or hurricanes produce their biggest storms in the later part of the season, from mid-August and through September. This means that we are on the cusp of a season that could have 18-21 named storms, with at least eight impacts.

Mancuso said there are many factors that are taken into consideration when planning a hurricane forecast. Some indicators that we are going to have a very active season include an Atlantic cycle that is bringing warm weather to the East Coast, a La Nina trend that is producing weaker winds in the upper atmosphere and warm sea surface temperatures in the tropics and Atlantic.

He also said that the waves coming off Africa are more pronounced, and when they hit the combination of factors-warm water temperatures, weak trade winds and pressure systems in the tropics-there is a greater chance for them to develop into storms. Chief Hurricane Meteorologist Joe Bastardi said he expects an influx of storms to begin Aug. 20. "An upcoming frenzy of storms, days with two or three storms on the chart, will take the current perceived lack of storms up very quickly. The pattern becomes more conducive for development beginning around the latter part of August."

Mancuso agreed, saying, "We don't typically expect to see things ramp until the end of August, beginning of September." While some may be relaxing because the heart of the season is just beginning, Mancuso encouraged people not to let down their guard. He said, "It only takes one, in your area, to be the worst hurricane season ever."

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