Itís Spring, and hurricane season is just around the corner. In any given calendar year, the tropical storm season runs from approximately June 1 through November 30. Although a cyclone can form at any time of year, these are historically the dates in which they occur off of the Atlantic Ocean in the Eastern United States and Caribbean.
So, what is our tropical storm risk for 2017?
The 2016 Season in Review
First, let's review what transpired last year. The 2016 Atlantic hurricane season featured slightly above average activity for the first time since 2012, which was notorious for the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy. September, which is normally a prime hurricane month, was relatively quiet, but October was very active. Hurricane Matthew brought strong winds, heavy rain, and flooding to Florida, as well as other areas on the East Coast. But it dissipated faster than some had expected. When all was said and done, 2016 ended as a slightly above-average year for hurricane activity in the Southern and Eastern United States.
Predictions for 2017: A Stronger-Than-Average Season
There are several organizations that spend time trying to predict hurricane activity for an upcoming season. Among them are the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Organization (NOAA) which has not released a prediction at time of this writing, The Tropical Meteorology Project at Colorado State University, and the Tropical Storm Risk consortium.
In a December preliminary discussion, The Tropical Meteorology Project predicted an approximately 60% chance of an above-normal hurricane season. North Atlantic sea surface temperatures have been generally warmer than usual, and these warmer temperatures often create an environment ripe for Atlantic storms. Additionally, an El Nino isn't expected, so upper level winds could be more prone to hurricane-inciting activity.
The Tropical Storm Risk consortium offered a similar assessment. The organization released an initial forecast that predicted 14 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes. This means it expects a stronger-than-average season, as a typical season features 12 named storms, 3-5 hurricanes, and 1-2 major hurricanes.
What does all of this mean? Well, honestly, not a lot. There are many weather variables that impact the likelihood of a hurricane. As you may expect, these patterns can be difficult to predict and constantly evolving. So as a hurricane season draws near (and as it begins), many organizations update their predictions. If we have learned anything from the past, though, it's that even hurricanes with a low category rating (like Irene and Sandy) have wreaked serious havoc. So even mild predictions should be treated with caution.
All indications right now, though, tell us one thing: to expect at least slightly stronger-than-average activity.
2017 Hurricane Names
Hurricanes gain distinct identities from their names. Below are some of the potential names for hurricanes in 2017.
In 2018, some of these names may be retired. Those not retired will be considered for use again in 2023.
Are you prepared for hurricane season? If you donít want to lose power during a storm, an electric generator will keep you running.