Saharan dust and stronger winds have kept tropical activity low in the Atlantic. The forecast remains active for the season, though.
PORTLAND, Maine — Ah, social media. It’s a double-edged sword of useful tips and tricks, a bit of entertainment, and downright false narratives.
Earlier last week, I saw a few posts about how the hurricane season forecast from NOAA was a bust.
As a quick reminder, the forecast falls for an active season.
I felt as though those posts were misinformed and wanted to dig into some of the specifics on it why I think the forecast is still on track.
There are a handful of reasons, both meteorological and not, that may be playing a role in why some people thought the forecast was a bust.
For starters, NOAA is indeed calling for a pretty active season. With 14-21 named storms and 6-10 hurricanes, that challenges seasonal averages and is on the higher side.
These numbers are not too far off from the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, which was also very active.
There have actually been three named storms in the tropical Atlantic so far this season.
All three storms reached tropical storm designation and did not have huge impacts.
Still, that’s three named storms out of the 14-21 forecast. Early season storms tend to be on the weaker side as well.
With respect to climatology and the hurricane season in general, it’s still pretty early.
I think one of the non-meteorological reasons people think the season is a bust is due to the past two years being so active.
Both 2020 and 2021 set records for how early storms were named and tropical headlines started in June.
This year, the opposite has been true. The stark difference between the two seasons is making this one seem slow.
The peak of the season is not until September 10, though, and the bulk of tropical activity happens in August, September, and October.
There is a meteorological reason for why things have been slow.
Saharan dust and relatively robust winds are suppressing activity a bit.
Tropical systems need moisture to thrive, and the dry Saharan dust keeps the air, well, dry.
They also need relatively weak winds in order to form and strengthen, and the persistent winds are not allowing storms to organize.
The other thing tropical systems need is warm ocean water, and there is plenty of that.
Water temperatures themselves are in the 80s so there is plenty of fuel for tropical systems when the other conditions are met.
And, as we know, a quiet season can become busy overnight. While many are grateful the tropical season was off to a slow start, there’s still plenty of time to see if the active forecast will come true or be a bust.
For more, follow me on Twitter, @MikeSliferWX.
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