Today is the official start to the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season.
It starts the six month season in which tropical cyclones are bound to form in the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico.
We have already had an early start to the season as Alberto formed last week and made landfall near Panama City, FL on Memorial Day before moving up toward the Great Lakes region and dissipating.
It should be noted that there is no correlation between a preseason development ( a tropical storm or hurricane forming before June 1st) to the actual amount of storms that form in the Atlantic Basin that particular year. Most of the tropical cyclones occur after August 10th and peaks around mid-September.
Everyone always wants to know what the outlook is every year as we begin our hurricane season. This year’s outlook calls for a slightly above normal hurricane season.
This is strictly off the number of storms expected to form based on current trends with sea surface temperatures, and the different global models used to depict tropical cyclone development.
It should be noted that despite the projections, we have no clue as to where these storms will form, and more importantly, where they will track. It is where these tropical cyclones make landfall that ultimately matters most.
Case in point, back in 1983, there were only four named storms as it was one of the quietest hurricane seasons in fifty-three years. However, one of those storms that formed was Hurricane Alicia, which was the last major hurricane to hit the upper Texas coast until Harvey made landfall near Rockport, TX one year ago.
From 2010 through 2012, we had a very active three year period in which we had nineteen named storms each year during that time span. Despite the active period, none of those storms were a threat to East Texas, which is all that matters in our perception of a particular season.
However, last year in 2017, it was a very active year as hurricanes Harvey, Maria, and Irma did costly damage to the United States and Puerto Rico. Those three storms from last year are three of the top five costliest tropical cyclones on record in the Atlantic basin, all doing damage of at least $50 billion.
The bottom line is that regardless of the outlook, the upper Texas and southwestern Louisiana coastline are at risk every year for a land falling tropical storm and hurricane. And of course, it only takes one storm to leave its impact on our part of the state.
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