This Atlantic hurricane season has seemed to have fallen off of the radar moving into the final days of the season’s supposed peak month. Through the 23rd of September, there have only been five named storms thus far. On Average, there are usually about eight named storms in the Atlantic hurricane season, and this data was collected from the National Hurricane Center Climatology. But, the number of hurricanes and major hurricanes that we have experienced this season is right on track with the average for this season.
The last time that we experienced such a small amount of named storms was back in 1997, and this season produced about eight storms, three hurricanes, and one hurricane was categorized as a category 3 as far as intensity goes. In recent times, the 2009 hurricane season only reached to the “F’s” (Hurricane Fred) by the last seven days of September.
There is a more effective way to sum up the hurricane season, and this by means of the ACE index (Accumulated Cyclone Energy). The way this is calculated is by adding each tropical storm or hurricane’s wind speed through the cycle of its life. If the hurricane is long lasting and intense, then it will be a high number on the ACE index. If it is short lived and weak, it will have a lower number on the ACE index.
On the other side of spectrum, the eastern Pacific season has been very active, with an ACE index 45 percent above the average-to-date. Even though the Atlantic season was rather quiet, we did have Hurricane Arthur, the first U.S land fall Category 2 hurricane since Hurricane Ike in 2008. It is proven that low activity hurricane seasons can still produce strong hurricanes, and this is quite obvious. The 2014 hurricane season was the first since 1983 that the first three named storms all became hurricanes.
Also, Hurricane Edouard became the first Cat 3 hurricane located in the Atlantic since Sandy. The main reason that most of these systems have been suppressed is due to the wind shear, meaning the height and the direction in which the wind is going. When the wind shear is higher, thunderstorms are moved from the center of a cyclone, which can either weaken it or prevent it from becoming stronger. According to a Lowry graph the wind shear over the main regions from June to August 2014 was the second highest on record for the three month period.
This wind shear was especially strong over the Caribbean Sea, and it’s no surprise that only one of the five tropical storms thus far managed to hold as a tropical cyclone over the Caribbean Sea. Also, the temperature of the atmosphere and moisture has begun suppressing thunderstorms needed to develop and maintain these tropical storm systems. The Atlantic atmosphere has been way more stable and more suppressive of the thunderstorms.
Over the Caribbean Sea, the atmosphere has been more stable, but not as much as it has been near the East Coast of the U.S, where three of the seasons four hurricanes have tracked. On average, the Atlantic Hurricane Season will produce about another five named storms, two hurricanes, and at least one major hurricane through November. But, hurricanes or named storms in October aren’t frequent. If these storms do make landfall, the hot spots are around the western Caribbean, the eastern Gulf of Mexico, and near the U.S East Coast.
Because there are upper level winds, disturbances in the western Caribbean have an increased chance of tracking towards the U.S in October. South Florida has been struck by hurricanes in October more than any other month of the season.
Basically, the bottom line is that nobody should let their guard down even though it is later in the season. Make preparations and plan accordingly, because devastating hurricanes can occur late in the season and could put you and your family in danger.