This year’s Atlantic hurricane season got off to a slow start but forecasters are saying that people should be ready because NOAA is predicting a 70 percent chance that between nine and sixteen named storms will develop this year of which up to eight could become full blown hurricanes.
So far this season, six named storms have formed including Ernesto which is now in the Caribbean and Florence that is located in the far east Atlantic. Forecasts are calling for two more systems to hit the US coastline with the coast that stretches from the northern Gulf Coast to Virginia coast being the most vulnerable.
Most of the tropical waves which have developed thus far this year have fizzled out due to upper level dry air or because they were torn apart by wind shear before they were able to form into storms. NAOO reported this week that changes in the water temperatures off the coast of South America are indicative of a developing El Nino. If an El Nino current does develop and grow stronger, it will pump large amounts of warm water into the normally cold Pacific ocean near the earth’s equater which could very well result in the development of extreme weather including hurricanes.
It is not possible to say for sure how active this Atlantic hurricane season will be as even the most advanced computer technology can only provide us with forecasts with any reliability for around fourteen days in advance. With the recent unpredictable path of tropical storm Debby fresh in our minds, it’s clear that residents of the United States must be prepared for the possibility that at least one major storm will hit their area.
Forecasters are saying that warmer than normal ocean surface temps and wind patterns which favor storm formation means that the chances are high for an above-normal hurricane season. This is not a time for coastal residents to become complacent about the chances of a hurricane striking. Even though the 2012 season got off to a slow start, there could be more storms this year than originally predicted.
It is being predicted that the next three weeks will probably be the busiest period of activity in the tropical Atlantic for the rest of this year’s season. We will have to wait to see how much influence the developing El Nino will have on the second half of the season which runs through September to the end of October. However, conditions seem to be coming together for what could be a very active second half of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season.