Hurricane Season 2014: Time is Now to Watch the Tropics

Categories: Hurricanes

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National Hurricane Center
Almost entirely quiet...for now.
With the exception of a tropical wave off the coast of Africa, all is relatively quiet in the Atlantic Basin, but what is it they always say about when it is calm? The fact is we have now entered the height of hurricane season for those of us who live with that sort of thing every year along the Gulf Coast. For the next six weeks, we are faced with the most precarious time of the year to be a coastal dweller.

Our current tropical wave is well out into the Atlantic and doesn't appear likely to be a threat even if it manages to survive its trip to the Caribbean, which is questionable. There is another disturbance moving off of Africa that has some promise, however, and no doubt there will be more behind that.

As storms begin to line up like that, we know we have reached the heart of the season because it means ocean temperatures are warm enough to support developing storms, but more than that is required.

While El Niño conditions and dry Saharan dust (yes, dust that blows off of the Sahara Desert) have been inhibiting storms, that only really impacts storms in the Atlantic. The Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico are more than ripe for the development of storms and, as I mentioned, this is the time.

Hurricane season officially begins in June, lasts through November and peaks in the second week of September, but for those of us along the Texas coastline, the six weeks from mid August through the beginning of the fourth week of September are prime time.

This is when waters are at their warmest and unstable conditions at their most unstable. The good news is that after around September 21, it is rare to see a hurricane cross the Texas coastline thanks to oncoming cool fronts that signal the start of fall in Texas.

So, we just have to hang on until then and watch. Because despite the relatively quiet season thus far, it only takes one to screw the whole year up.


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