As the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season gets underway on Saturday, June 1st, it appears that this year will be just as active as years past.
Over the past three years, we have seen nineteen named storms take place from 2010 thru 2012. Keep in mind that the average number of named storms we see in any given year is around twelve. Needless to say, the tropical Atlantic has been busy and that trend looks to continue this year.
Why So Active?
There are several reasons why all the different weather agencies are predicting another above normal season in the Atlantic Basin.
The biggest reason has to do with the lack of El-Nino. When this climate phenomena is present, it increases the upper level wind shear, which in turn, limits tropical cyclone development. Since we are in a neutral phase right now, the wind shear will be rather light, hence, a more favorable environment for tropical cyclones to develop.
The other main factor is the sea-surface temperatures are running several degrees above normal in the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. The warmth of the ocean water provides fuel for these areas of low pressure to strengthen and condense the water vapor into liquid droplets.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, released their hurricane outlook for the 2013 season. They are forecasting 13-20 named storms, 7-10 hurricanes, and 3-6 of those hurricanes to be major hurricanes (category three or higher).
2013 Storm Names
Many of the storm names may sound familiar to you, and well, they should. This is the same storm list that was used back in 2007. The only names that are different are the D,F, and N names. Dorian will replace Dean, Fernand will replace Felix, and Nestor will replace Noel. Any time a storm leaves its impact on an area from a disaster standpoint, it often gets retired. If that happens, a new name will replace it when the list comes up again every six years.
With the hurricane season ready to unfold, now is the time to plan and prepare for a tropical storm or hurricane, should one make landfall along the Texas coast and impact East Texas.
Please bookmark the link to our Hurricane Center on your personal computer and check it daily. This will give you access to any and all tropical cyclones all season long. You can get the latest coordinates, forecast track, forecast intensity, and so much more.
You can also track the tropics with our KTRE weather app. Just go to the settings button and check on the feature "tropical tracks."
It Only Takes One
Ever since Hurricane Ike impacted East Texas back in September of 2008, we have been spared of any major storms in recent years, despite the above normal activity. Regardless of whether the hurricane season is expected to be active or not, it's important to remember that it just takes one storm to leave its imprint on a community.
For example, the 1992 Atlantic hurricane season was very quiet, with only seven named storms taking shape. However, one of those storms was Hurricane Andrew, which at the time, was the costliest hurricane to ever hit the United States, when it pounded Miami and south Florida.
Another year that stands out to me is 1983. That hurricane season was the least active hurricane season in 53 years as only four storms formed in the entire tropical Atlantic. But one of those four storms to form was Hurricane Alicia. You might remember her as she made landfall on Galveston island as a major, category three hurricane on August 18th.
Even though those two years were quiet, don't tell that to residents in Galveston and south Florida who were affected by major hurricanes.
That's why regardless of preseason predictions, we have to stay alert and be prepared.
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