September 10th is the statistical peak day for hurricane activity in the Atlantic basin.
Indeed, we currently have Hurricane Michael, Tropical Storm Leslie and a disturbance west of the Cape Verde Islands likely to become Nadine sometime this week churning away in the Atlantic Ocean. From a meteorological perspective the key factors for tropical storm formation are most favorable this time of the season – warm water, low wind shear, easterly waves coming off Africa. All’s quiet, however, in our neck of the woods.
We have already had 13 named storms this season. On average, by Sept.10 we have had six. At this rate we will go through the official alphabetic list of names as we have eight to go from Nadine to William. If we use all the names and have more storms, the National Hurricane Center will use letters in the Greek alphabet for the remainder of the season (Alpha, Beta …). We have been there before in the off the charts 2005 season, where we went through six letters in the Greek alphabet on our way to 28 named storms. On Sept. 10 during the 2005 season we were up to Ophelia, so on a names pace at least, 2012 is not far behind.
Time will tell if this season continues as active as it started. By the end of September, the Cape Verde season starts to diminish as high pressure over the Atlantic and North Africa begin to move further south. Seasonal forecasters have noted that the developing El Nino in the tropical Pacific should create more unfavorable wind and pressure patterns over the Gulf and Caribbean as we head into October and November, which is where most late season storms form. If that trend verifies, we could see an early end to an active season.
Time will tell.
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