Thursday, August 06, 2015

August Tropical Climatology & The Latest CSU Hurricane Forecast





As a resident of Florida for nearly 50 of my 61 years, I’m pretty used to casting a weather eye towards the tropics six months out of every year.  But while hurricane season runs from June 1st through the end of November, as the chart above illustrates, most of our tropical activity takes place between August 20th and October 20th.


As the summer progresses the spawning grounds for Hurricanes expands greatly, moving further east into the warming Atlantic ocean.  It is usually  August and September when the Cape Verde basin begins to produce what often turn into the largest and most persistent storms.


July & August Tropical Climatology


You can find much more on Hurricane Climatology at NOAA’s  Tropical Cyclone Climatology page.

This being a strong El Niño year, we would expect tropical activity in the Eastern Pacific to be enhanced, while tropical development in the Atlantic is suppressed. 


But there is a great deal more to long range tropical forecasting, which is why we eagerly await the forecasts each spring and summer by Philip J. Klotzbach and William M. Gray who run Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project.


Starting in April, they begin producing regular forecasts for the upcoming season, adjusting and fine tuning their projections throughout the season.  Their initial forecast (April 9th) anticipated that `the 2015 Atlantic basin hurricane season will be one of the least active seasons since the middle of the 20th century’.

Their latest update (August 4th) continues to predict a below-average Atlantic tropical season.



We continue to foresee a well below-average 2015 Atlantic hurricane season. A strong El Niño event is already underway. Conditions in the tropical Atlantic remain unfavorable for hurricane formation. We continue to call for a below-average probability of United States and Caribbean major hurricane landfall.

(Continue . .. )


Of course, even a slow hurricane season doesn’t preclude seeing one or more potentially deadly storms affect the United States coastline.   The chart below from the latest forecast still gives Florida 1 in 5 chance of seeing a hurricane yet this year, and a 13% probability for Texas.



So, if you haven’t already downloaded the updated Tropical Cyclone Preparedness Guide, now would be an excellent time to do so.

When it comes to getting the latest information on hurricanes, your first stop should always be the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida. These are the real experts, and the only ones you should rely on to track and forecast the storm.


And if you are on Twitter, you should also follow @FEMA, @CraigatFEMA, @NHC_Atlantic, @NHC_Pacific and @ReadyGov.


For more on preparedness, you may wish to revisit some of these recent blogs:

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