The weather this summer has been a bit weird for many people around the world.
Record heat and rainfall combined with a cooler start to the season made conditions a bit difficult to follow at times. It seems there is a different weather disaster in the news every week.
One weather phenomenon that hasn’t been in the news very frequently this summer, however, are hurricanes.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) pays particular attention to hurricane season because hurricanes can be both devastating and informative. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, the same that provides seasonal temperature and precipitation forecasts for the entire United States, provides an annual forecast for hurricane season in late spring. These forecasts are based on a plethora of data and are used to act as an initial warning factor for coastal areas.
This year’s hurricane forecasts matched the trend of forecasts for almost the past decade. For the seventh consecutive year, the Atlantic Ocean hurricane season was forecast to be above normal. In detail, it was predicted that there would be a 65% chance of this hurricane season being above normal, a 25% chance of a near-normal season, and a 10% chance of a below-normal season. the normal. Breaking down those percentages, that’s between 14 and 21 storms, with three to six of those storms being major hurricanes.
So far this summer, there have been three named storms in the Atlantic Ocean, none of which have escalated to hurricane status.
So, was NOAA’s prediction a failure?
I wouldn’t venture to say that right now. It is important to remember that hurricane season for the Atlantic Ocean runs from early June to late November. Keeping that in mind, we are only halfway through the normal period when hurricanes occur. In fact, hurricane season usually peaks around September.
At the end of August, we will only have gone through three named storms: Alex, Bonnie and Colin. The next storms to be named will be nicknamed Danielle, Earl, Fiona and Gaston. This naming pattern will continue with a traditional female then male name pattern until the end of the alphabet is reached. If other storms occur, an alternate list will be used.
The past few hurricane seasons have been strong to begin with in early summer, but this season is not yet worth ignoring. All it takes is for a storm to intensify and make landfall for there to be a widespread impact. It’s also important to know that even if a tropical storm or hurricane doesn’t make landfall, that doesn’t mean it was obsolete.
Storms over open waters will disrupt sailing habits and put mariners at risk.
Maddie Est has worked as a broadcast meteorologist and marine meteorologist since graduating from the University of Missouri in 2021. She has worked with the Missouri Climate Center and conducted research on atmospheric blocking while at MU.