Weather Nerd

Quiet again in the tropics

Sorry for the lack of posts these last few days. There just hasn’t been much to report since Tuesday, when the “underwhelming” Edouard came ashore in Texas and, unfortunately, failed to alleviate the drought as much as might have been hoped. The Atlantic basin is now very quiet, with nary an “invest” or proto-storm in sight:

nocyclones-aug2.gif

Weatherblogger Alan Sullivan thinks the quiet tropics may be a sign of things to comei.e., that the coming “peak” of the season won’t live up to the active first two months we’ve had. He writes:

With five named storms so far, the Atlantic Basin seems to be having a fairly busy season, but there are several reasons to believe that it’s time for a revision to the high-end estimates for storm activity this year. Conditions in the Pacific Ocean have changed. La Nina faded this spring, and during the summer, El Nino has developed in the eastern Pacific, though the warmth has not yet spread across the International Date line. Nevertheless, it is clearly having some effect on the distribution and behavior of tropical storms. The hurricane belt of the eastern Pacific has become very active. Meanwhile the Atlantic has actually been getting quieter as the season progressed. …

[B]low-off from the cyclones in the Pacific is generating adverse upper winds over the Atlantic Basin. And the northern hemisphere jet stream must be considered also. A very persistent, unseasonally deep trough over the eastern US will probably keep any Atlantic hurricanes offshore when they do finally form. Bottom line: I no longer expect an unusually busy peak to hurricane season this year, and I suspect the final tally will be near the long-term average.

NOAA, by contrast, thinks we’re in for an even busier season than they predicted previously, as does Dr. William Gray (who is an outspoken global warming skeptic, just FYI, so you can check your conspiracy theories at the door). Personally, as I’ve said before, I don’t think these sorts of seasonal forecasts are of much value. Nobody knows for sure what will happen, and these long-term projections are both far less useful and far less accurate than individual storm predictions. Bottom line, “active” year or no, there’s a whole lot of hurricane season left to go, and plenty of potential for storms to do more damage than puny Edouard did. Coastal residents certainly shouldn’t let their guard down.

Anyway, there are some computer-model rumblings about possible development near the Carolinas and/or off the coast of Africa next week, but for now, there’s nothing much to talk about. I’ll certainly let y’all know when that changes.