Hurricane Season Is Here: Please Return Your Hatches to Their Properly Battened Position
Welcome to Hurricane Season 2013: the Search for Spock, or something. As most of us along the Gulf Coast know, the Atlantic hurricane season officially opens (Remember, hunters, your bag limit is two storms per season, so wear bright colors and stay low. Good luck!) on June 1 and runs through November 30. For our neck o' the piney woods, the season ostensibly ends a bit earlier, but more on that momentarily.
June is typically fairly quiet, though the Atlantic did have a couple storms last year before the season even opened, but it is important to start paying attention. The conditions exist for storm development through the Atlantic basin and there's no reason to think this won't be a very active season. Most predictions are right around 16 named storms, eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes. That is statistically well above season norms and there are good reasons for that.
1. Warm ocean surface temperatures.
Sea Surface Temps (SSTs) are needed for hurricane convection, and while temps are a tad cooler than last year at the same time (particularly in the Gulf), they will be plenty warm soon. Additionally, the presence of a warm water eddy in the Gulf just south of the Louisiana-Mississippi border is a concern. A similar feature was responsible for the rapid intensification of both hurricanes Rita and Katrina in 2005. We are still a long way off from there, but it bears watching.
2. Monsoons on one continent and drier conditions on another.
Monsoon season in Africa has been particularly wet this year and that tends to increase storm activity in the central Atlantic as well as hinder dust from sub-Saharan Africa to drift across the basin and inhibit storm production. Storms need moist, warm air, and dust dries out the air and blocks out the sun. Additionally, it has been a somewhat dry rainy season in the Amazon, which tends to be an indicator of busy tropical seasons.