Hurricane season has been underway since June 1st, and runs through November 30th. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), this time period is when 97% of all Atlantic tropical storms and hurricanes occur. Activity tends to increase beginning in mid-August and typically peaks on or around September 10. But these storms can form any time of year.
So far this year, the Atlantic hurricane season has been relatively tame with respect to numbers of storms. Over the last 5 to 10 years, the number of named storms by the 25th of August averaged seven. In 2005 there were eleven. And last year, which was categorized as a below-normal year, we had six. This year, we’ve had only three. Part of the suppression may be due to an evolving El Niño which, according to NOAA, has a 65% chance of fully developing by the winter season.
The Eastern Pacific hurricane season has been much more active. The season kicked off with Amanda, which started out as a tropical depression in mid-May, but intensified to a Category 3 hurricane by the end of the month. Amanda was followed by eight additional named storms in the Pacific throughout June and July, the most notable being Iselle, which made landfall on the islands of Hawaii as a category 4 hurricane.
The Farmers’ Almanac predicted four possible tropical storms affecting regions during the 2014 hurricane season. One we predicted was due to hit along the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast coasts by end of June. Hurricane Arthur, the first Atlantic hurricane of the 2014 season, formed off the coast of Florida on June 30th and tracked north-northeast, ruining July 4th fireworks plans for many in North Carolina and along the Eastern Seaboard. Arthur’s sustained winds reached 100 mph when it made landfall and brought heavy rains and wind as it tracked north through New England and eventually into Canada as a post tropical storm, with winds of 70 mph (110 km/h).
At the time of this writing, Hurricane Cristobal is churning out in the Atlantic, creating dangerous surf conditions along the Eastern Seaboard, and Hurricane Marie is creating huge swells and rip currents along the Southern California coast.
Because the Farmers’ Almanac has also predicted a storm in mid-September in New England and the Mid-Atlantic areas, a late season tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico, and one possibly along the East Coast during the third week in October, you might want consider this when planning your fall vacations or cruises.
Who Names Storms?
Since 1953, weather forecasters have had a tradition of naming every tropical storm and hurricane. Each year, forecasters use one of six set lists that alternate between male and female names, listed alphabetically and in chronological order starting with A and omitting Q and U, X, Y, and Z. Every six years, the names cycle back around and get reused. If a hurricane does tremendous damage (i.e. Andrew, Camille, Katrina), the name is retired and replaced with a different name beginning with the same letter.
There are many myths surrounding extreme weather forces such as hurricanes. Here are a few:
True or False? Hurricanes can spawn tornadoes.
True. Some hurricanes do spawn tornadoes. Tornadoes formed during hurricanes make up an average of 20 percent of all US tornadoes. In 1961, Hurricane Carla spawned an F4 tornado in Galveston, TX.
True or False? The right side of a hurricane is more dangerous than the left side.
True. Because hurricanes spin counter clockwise and travel in a forward direction, the right side of the hurricane will have faster wind speeds than the left side.
Did You Know? Hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons are all the same weather phenomenon; the storms are just called different things depending on where in the world they are. In the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific, the term “hurricane” is used. In the Northwest Pacific it’s called a “typhoon,” and in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean, they are referred to as a “cyclone.”