We're Only Halfway Through Hurricane Season...
Every hurricane season is different and for 2011, we were expecting an above average season and we got one. Bad news is, we've only just now hit the halfway point. And from this graphic on the left you can see the most named storms are in August and September. (This would be average named storms for the last 100 years)
September 10th falls right in the middle of the peak development time so that is the most likely date we will see a named storm. We've actually seen 14 named storms so far for this 2011 season and interestingly enough, half of those formed in August. (More about this year's stat's at the end of the blog)
Right on track we still have Tropical Storm Maria, a weaker and somewhat disorganized system that looks to be taking a similar track to Hurricane Katia and stay to the East of the US coast.
Tropical Storm Nate is moving into Mexico bringing heavy rains to that region, if only he could move a little more north and bring some to Texas!
There's also another wave to the west of TS Maria but the National Hurricane center is only giving this system a 10% chance of developing over the next 48 hours. Still, an active year though.
So why are August and September the peak of hurricane season, especially as air temperatures are actually starting to cool??
Well warm ocean temps are a major fuel source for Hurricanes, and this time of year is when ocean temperatures are warmest.
Water takes much longer to warm than air, and longer to cool. So there is a lag time between the hot summer sun heating the air and the ocean.
The ocean continues to hold onto the heat until Mid-Late September.
We also have a large ridge of High pressure over the Atlantic which helps create a favorable environment for storms to form by limited the wind shear.
(Kind of the opposite needed for a tornado. We need vertical wind shear for tornadoes, and we need to limit the wind shear for tropical systems to form)
NOAA's updated Hurricane forecast for this year: 14-19 named storms (Right on track so far)
3-5 Major Hurricanes: We've seen two so far this year (Irene and Katia)
Well I have to say yes I believe there will be several more named storms, hopefully none will be as destructive as Irene was. Let's hope that was our one for the year.