The 2012 Atlantic Basin hurricane season was the most active since 1851. For the third year in a row there were 19 named storms - four of which, Tropical Storms Beryl and Debby and Hurricanes Issac and Sandy, made landfall on the coastal United States.
Not only was 2012 active, but it was filled with oddities!
On Memorial Day weekend, Tropical Storm Beryl soaked northern Florida, ending a long-running drought and serving as a harbinger of floods to come with successive storms.
In June, Hurricane Chris strengthened to a hurricane in the North Atlantic, far from the western Caribbean where early hurricanes usually form. Tropical Storm Debby provided forecasters with a challenge when it came to predicting her track through the Gulf of Mexico. Debby finally made landfall near Steinhatchee, Florida, much further east than originally predicted.
After no activity in July, the month of August saw Hurricane Issac persist with winds for over two days, producing a storm surge that flooded parts of southern Louisiana and causing an 8 inch rise in the Mississippi River.
September saw Nadine form in the Tropical Atlantic and spend almost 22 days whirling around as a tropical cyclone - the 5th longest tropical cyclone on record. Nadine affected the Azores and strengthened to a hurricane 3 separate times.
In October, the north Atlantic coast of the United States saw the devastating enormity of Sandy and her tropical storm force sustained winds that spanned a diameter of 932 miles, more than double the size of recent hurricanes Issac and Irene.
What have we learned from all of these occurrences? Possibly that we should expect the unexpected.
The National Hurricane Service tells us that we are now entering the "heart of the hurricane season".
Consider this - 93% of major hurricanes occur during this time - August to October.
Of the top ten costliest hurricanes in the United States, 9 of them have occured from August through October. - Irene (August 2011), Andrew (August 1992), Ike (September 2008) and Katrina (August 2005).
To simplify - atomospheric conditions are more favorable over a much larger expanse of the Atlantic Basin in these peak months as opposed to the early part of the season. In June tropical disturbance formation zones are confined to the Gulf of Mexico, western Caribbean, or southeast coast of the United States. Storms don't have far to go before reaching land. From July into August, the formation zone spreads east until the "main development region" from the Lesser Antilles to just off Africa heats up. Tropical easterly waves off Africa become more vigorous and well-defined and sea-surface temps, having spent the entire summer soaking up the sun's energy, cause a marked increase in tropical cyclone activiity.
Forecasters predict a "near normal' Atlantic Hurricane season beginning June 1, 2012
A "near normal" 2012 would see a least a dozen tropical storms and two major hurricanes.
A variety of climate conditions are starting to change in ways that will make the development of major storm less favorable.
Water temps off the coast of Africa and into the Caribbean are lower.
Additionally, trade winds blowing across the Atlantic are stronger than normal, causing more wave activity, which helps to keep the water cooler.
La Nina, running along the coast of South America, is just about finished. A different current, El Nino, is expected to begin this fall, creating strong winds that shear off the tops of hurricanes.
Despite all these changes, forecasters say the United States could still experience a major hurricane or even a hurricane of a different type called a "home grown" storm which develops from a stalled cold front near the coast.
The Colorado State University Meteorology Project and NOAA's National Hurricane Center report that the 2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season produced a total of 19 tropical storms of which 7 became hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes. This level of activity continues the trend of active hurricane seasons that began in 1995. The 19 tropical storms represent the third-highest total (tied with 1887, 1995, and 2010) and is well above the average of 11.
Hurricane Irene was the lone hurricane to make landfall in the United States and it was the most significant hurricane to strike the Northeast since Hurricane Bob in 1991. This season was a reminder that storms can hit any part of our coast and that all regions need to be prepared each and every season. Hurricane Irene is an example of increasing accuracy in forecasting storm track. Landfall in eastern North Carolina and paths northward were accurately predicted more than 4 days in advance by NOAA's National Hurricane Center.
Forecasters agree that although the 2011 hurricane season has ended, the need to prepare for disasters has not. Whether your needs are weather related or security concerns, contact us. We look forward to hearing from you.
The Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project predicts that the 2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season has the potential to be quite active. The forecasters expect to see approximately 16 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and 5 major hurricanes (category 3 or higher featuring sustained winds of 111 mph or greater) during the 2011 season. The forecasters predict a 72% probability of at least one major hurricane landfall on the entire U.S. coastline.
U.S. East Coast including peninsula Florida: 48%
Gulf Coast form the Florida Panhandle westward to Brownsville, Tx: 47%
Caribbean Basin: 61%
The Colorado State Tropical Meteorology Project has issued its summary of 2010 Atlantic Basin hurricane activity. Some highlights are as follows:
Nineteen named storms occurred during 2010. Since 1944, only 1995 (19) and 2005 (28) have had the same or more named storms.
Twelve hurricanes occurred in 2010. Since 1944, only two seasons, 1969 (12) and 2005 (15) have had the same or more hurricanes in a single season.
Five major hurricanes formed during the 2010 hurricane season. Since 1944, only seven seasons (1950, 1955, 1961,1964, 1996, 2004, and 2005) have had more than five major hurricanes form.
No Category 5 hurricanes developed in 2010. This is the third consecutive year with no Cat 5 hurricanes.
Eleven named storms formed between August 22 and September 29. This is the most named storms to form during this period, breaking the old record of nine named storms set in 1933, 1949, 1984 and 2002.
Four Category 4 hurricanes (Danielle, Earl, Igor, and Julia) formed in the Atlantic between August 27 and September 15 (20 days). This is the shortest time span on record for four Cat 4 hurricanes to develop, breaking the old record of 24 days set in 1999.
Only one tropical storm made U.S. landfall this year (Bonnie).
The Colorado State Tropical Meteorology Project reports that conditions in the Atlantic remain very favorable for continued activity for the remainder of the 2010 hurricane season.
Sea surface temperatures are running a near-record highs due to anomalies that developed over the spring months due to a very weak Azores High and a consequent reduction in the strength of the trade winds. Summer sea level level pressure anomalies have been well below average throughout the tropical Atlantic, feeding back into continued reduced trade wind strength. This positive feedback has helped to keep tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures at very warm levels.
A very warm tropical Atlantic combined with a likely moderate La Nina event will lead to continued activity for the remainder of the hurricane season.
Attorney General Bill McCollum issued the following consumer advisory warning in September:
Don't be fooled by window film companies that are selling their products to homeowners as"hurricane protection". The International Hurricane Protection Association (IHPA) has determined that aggressive sales tactics may have misled some homeowners to believe that the film has been approved for residential use. The Florida Building Code compliant forms of hurricane protection contain no approval(s) for film applied to a residential structure. Additionally, some window film companies are also falsely claiming that by purchasing the window film for residential use, the homeowner will be eligible for an insurance discount. In reality, the insurance industry may not recognize the discount because the film does not meet the standards for use in a residential home.
Empire Construction offers only Florida Building Code compliant forms of hurricane protection. See us for all your hurricane protection needs.
The Colorado State Tropical Meteorology Project has increased its predictions for the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season. There will be significantly more activity than the average 1950-2000 season with 15 named storms, 75 named storm days, about 8 hurricanes, 35 hurricane days, 4 major (Category 3-4-5) hurricanes, and 10 major hurricane days.
Current moderate El Nino conditions are expected to transition to neutral conditions. The weakening El Nino conditions combined with a very strong anomalous warming of the tropical Atlantic are the primary reasons the project is increasing its forecast.
The hurricane season forecast from Colorado State University's Tropical Meteorology Project predicts above-average activity in the Atlantic for 2010 beginning June 1st.
The December 2009 report estimates approximately 11-16 named storms, 6-8 hurricanes and 3-5 major hurricanes occurring during the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season, which is more typical of years in an active era, such as the 1995 season. The forecast utilizes a statistical methodology derived from 58 years of past data and climate-related global and regional predictors. The effects of El Nino or La Nina also have an impact on the frequency of hurricanes. El Nino creates warmer water, and stronger winds that rip topical depressions apart before they become tropical storms or hurricanes. La Nina creates cooler water, resulting in more hurricanes. Based on these facts, it is forecasted that El Nino conditions now in effect will weaken.
The early forecast for the 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season issued in December can been seen as a good estimate of future storm activity. This is the 27th year that the Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project has released a hurricane season forecast. The team is now utilizing a new statistical forecast methodology for early December predictions, in hopes of increasing the skill and accuracy of the report.
Seasonal updates of the 2010 hurricane season are due out on April 7th, June 2nd, and August 4th of 2010.
2009 Hurricane Season kind to the U.S., pleasing insurance companies and property owners alike!
Forecasters told us that global weather patterns are imposing a greater uncertainty in the 2009 hurricane season and as the season draws to an end we see that the actuality of the number of storms falls well below the predictions. Forecasters give two reasons for the relatively quiet season in the Atlantic basin:
The mid-latitude westerly winds were much farther south than normal and this southward displacement caused three upper level wind features across the Gulf Caribbean and Atlantic to also be shifted south.
El Nino unfolded and became more prominent through summer and fall, resulting in increased west wind shear across the Caribbean and southwest tropical Atlantic and an anomalous sinking motion across the same area. Neither of these favored tropical cyclone development.
The following is a list of the nine named storms and two tropical depressions the Atlantic Basin has experienced so far in the 2009 hurricane season:
Tropical Depression #1 - May 28-29 -35 mph
Tropical Storm Ana - Aug. 11-17 - 40mph
Hurricane Bill - Aug. 15-24 -135 mph
Tropical Storm Claudette - Aug. 16-18 - 50 mph
Tropical Storm Danny - Aug. 26-29 - 60 mph
Tropical Storm Erika - Sept. 1-4 - 60 mph
Hurricane Fred - Sept. 7-12 - 120 mph
Tropical Depression #8 - Sept. 25-26 - 35 mph
Tropical Storm Grace - Oct. 5-6 - 70 mph
Tropical Storm Henri - Oct. 6-8 - 50 mph
Hurricane Ida - Nov. 4-10 - 105 mph
The greatest defense against the unpredictability of any hurricane season is preparedness. Take action now! Make sure your home is hurricane proof.