Friday, October 8, 2010

17, 15, 8, 5

You might be wondering what the numbers in the title of this post refer to. Well wonder no more because I'm going to tell you these numbers reference the scorecard for the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season – a season that will go down in the record books as one of the most active in history!

Wait, what!? How can it be one of the most active?

You mean you haven't heard that more than half the storms, major hurricanes included, have gone out to sea as 'fish storms?' That's right... it's been a very active hurricane season but with little U.S. impact, who knew?!

With the formation of Hurricane Otto today, the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season now features a total of 17 storms, 15 of which have been named and of those, 8 became hurricanes. Of those hurricanes, 5 were majors (category 3, i.e. 115 mph or higher). A typical hurricane season produces about 10 storms, of which 6 become hurricanes.

Before the start of hurricane season experts warned of the threat of not only an active season but a very high impact one, however, as mentioned and observed, U.S. impact has been quite minimal outside of a few tropical storms, a depression and glancing blow from Hurricane Earl.

While we are hitting the numbers big time, somewhat unexpected atmospheric conditions have steered a great number of storms away from U.S. coastlines. Who's complaining right? Well, aside from the storm chasers and weather enthusiasts!

Hurricane tracks are greatly influenced by the aforementioned atmospheric conditions. The upper level currents steer hurricanes in a variety of ways and storm tracks are highly dependent on where the storms form and the steering currents at that particular time. According to National Hurricane Center (NHC) Director, Bill Read, with the weather pattern that was in place and the fact that this season's storms formed so far out to the east, it's not surprising that they turned off to the north. As soon as you find a weakness in the big high (known as the Bermuda High) you'll get that effect. This follows the same methodology that Greg Nordstrom and I refer to often in The Weathervein. When storms form east of 35W longitude they will 9 out of 10 times curve out to sea.

Time will tell what the remainder of hurricane season will bring but we only have 6 names left on the list before they are used up. Those names are Paula, Richard, Shary, Tomas, Virginie and Walter. Thereafter we would be required to begin using the Greek alphabet as we did only one time before
in 2005. However, time is running out.

Regardless, always be hurricane ready!

Return to home