By Dale C. S. Destin
Records continue to be broken or equalled this hurricane season, which is supposed to be near normal. Notwithstanding the near normal forecast, the season has had a very frantic start. Even before the official start to the season on June 1, there were two preseason storms in May. Historically May averages one named storm every 10 years, so to have two storms in May is extremely unusual. As a matter of fact, the only other time this happened was in 1887, well over a hundred years ago. Further, this was only the third time on record two storms formed before the official start of the hurricane season – 1887, 1908 and now 2012.
With the formation of Debby, this makes it the first time on record that four storms formed before the end of June. Debby became the earliest fourth storm in history, beating Dennis of 2005 by 11 days. On average, the fourth named storm forms by August 23. June has never had more than three storms in a given season and this is the 12th time two or more storms have formed in a year in June.
The forecast for the hurricane season is still for near normal activity; however, with a quarter of the number of storms already in the history books, it is quite likely many of the groups who produce forecasts for the season must be scratching their heads and wondering what the hell may have gone wrong with the Atlantic. I now believe that this season will be marginally above normal and the next round of forecasts will reflect this. With four storms already gone, the average season producing eight named storms over the period August to October and the possibility of El Nino, an inhibiting factor, but forecast to develop very late in the hurricane season, I would say an above normal season is fast becoming the most likely outcome.
The x-factor continues to be whether there will be an El Nino episode and when. I look forward to the next round of seasonal forecasts, which are due early August. Will more records be equalled or tumble this year? Follow us as we keep you up to date with all the latest happenings of the Atlantic Hurricane Season.
Tropical Cyclones up to the end of June:
Name Dates Max Wind (MPH)
TS Alberto 19-22 May 60
TS Beryl 26-30 May 70
H Chris 19-22 Jun 75
TS Debby 23-27 Jun 60