The months of June and July, which represent the first third of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season, came and went with barely a whimper. Tropical Storms Alex and Bonnie just didn’t have the right stuff and soon faded into the oblivion. Earlier this year a veritable army of weather prognosticators predicted that the 2010 hurricane season would be apocalyptic, spawning a jaw-dropping 14-23 named storms with winds of 39 mph or higher, including eight to 14 hurricanes with winds of 74 mph or higher; and three to seven major hurricanes. A major hurricane is a category 3, 4 or 5 with winds at least 111 mph.
Since the ’10 Hurricane Season has gotten off to such a slow start, one might be tempted to celebrate the 2010 hurricane season that wasn’t. But according to weather experts, most notably the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), it is far too early to whip out the party hats, horns and confetti.
Tropical development in the Atlantic basin is about to ramp up as we are now in the second most active month for tropical storms and hurricanes historically.
Since 1851, the month of August has produced over 350 tropical storms (352) in the Atlantic basin with over 225 of those storms (226) becoming hurricanes.
August is only second to the most active month historically in September, which has produced 540 tropical storms with 376 of those storms becoming hurricanes.
In a typical year, only one named storm forms before August and the first hurricane does not form until August 10th with a total average of 11 named storms through November 30th.
Dry air and dust from Africa in the Atlantic Basin have kept tropical development to a minimum so far but weather conditions have recently changed supporting an increasing concern for strong and long tracked tropical waves from the coast of Africa that could develop into tropical storms or hurricanes.
The bottom line: Everyone, especially coastal residents, should closely monitor tropical activity from now through the end of November.
For hurricane preparedness tips, please visit http://www.redcross.org.