Hurricane season about to fizzle out
The hurricane season of 2009 can be summed up in a word; quiet. All this inactivity has made for several months of stress free living here on the coast and is causing some to question, where are the storms?
So far this season we have only seen about 7 named storms, and most of them have not impacted us. Tropical Storm Claudette back in August did make a landfall on the Gulf Coast states, but it was a rather weak storm in general. Hurricane Bill threatened to make landfall at one point but actually stayed closer to Bermuda than it did here on our shores. We only saw some waves; they actually saw some heavier weather.
Preseason forecasts from the hurricane center called for as many as 14 named storms; a large overestimate.
So why no storms? The main reason is El Nino.
How does El Nino hurt hurricane development? Well it all starts with water temperature. In an El Nino year off the coast of South America we see warmer waters than normal which sets off a string of occurrences in the atmosphere, but most important to hurricane development is wind shear, or the difference in wind with height. In this situation we have stronger westerly winds than normal that come across the ocean and tend to tear up these higher cloud tops that are needed to form hurricanes.
Looking ahead, we still have a few weeks to go in this hurricane season, but conditions appear primed for a quiet end to a quiet season in the tropics. And isn’t that a good thing anyway?
The hurricane season comes to an official end on November 1st.
With only a few weeks left in hurricane season, you may be wondering where all the storms are. The lack of hurricanes is good news for people who live along the coast. Meteorologist Tim Buckley tells us about some factors that have helped keep this 2009 season quiet.
Story summary image
More: continued here