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What's up with the tropics? Meteorologist Margaret Orr explains

WDSU New Orleans logo WDSU New Orleans 8/4/2022
tropics lull © Provided by WDSU New Orleans tropics lull

The tropics have been quiet the past few weeks, but WDSU Chief Meteorologist Margaret Orr wants to make one thing clear: Hurricane season is not even close to being over.

In her latest blog, Orr explains why a lull in the tropics is normal.

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Hurricane Season 2022:

We have not had any tropical storms since Colin!

Dry air in the Atlantic Basin, Saharan Dust and upper-level lows causing strong winds aloft have really prevented development. It is not unusual to have lulls this time of the year.

In 2021 Hurricane Elsa ended July 9. Tropical Storm Fred did not develop until Aug. 11. That's 33 days.

There was no lull in 2020. It was on steroids the whole season!

In 2019 Hurricane Barry ended July 15. Tropical Storm Chantal developed Aug. 20. That's a 36-day lull.

NOAA and Dr. Phil Klotzbach of Colorado State University will update the hurricane season forecast Thursday morning.

The current forecast from NOAA is:

  • 14-21 named storms
  • 6-10 hurricanes
  • 3-6 major hurricanes

The current forecast from Dr. Phil Klotzbach of Colorado State University is:

  • 20 named storms
  • 10 hurricanes
  • 5 major hurricanes

The average is:

  • 14 named storms
  • 7 hurricanes
  • 3 major hurricanes

So far this year, we have had three tropical storms. We did not have an early start to the hurricane season like we have had for the past seven years.

Alex developed partially from the remnants of Pacific Hurricane Agatha. A broad low formed near the Yucatan Peninsula. The system was buffeted by strong winds aloft. It crossed Florida, causing flash flooding in South Florida. It was able to develop in the Atlantic due to lower wind shear on June 5. It took off to the ENE and passed Bermuda with winds of 70 mph, but it became post-tropical June 6.

Bonnie was born of a tropical wave that moved off the Coast of Africa on June 23, 2022. It crossed the Atlantic and most of the Caribbean before it was able to organize and be named Tropical Storm Bonnie July 1. Bonnie made landfall along the border of Costa Rica and Nicaragua with 50 mph winds. The system remained a tropical storm across Central America, and so kept the name Bonnie when it moved into the Pacific.

The last time a tropical cyclone survived crossing from the Atlantic to the Pacific Basin was Hurricane Otto in 2016.

Tropical Storm Colin formed from an area of low pressure off the coast of Savannah, Georgia. It moved onshore in South Carolina, with the low still close to the Atlantic. Colin developed 50 miles SW of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on July 2. Max winds 40 mph. It did not last long. It dissipated over land July 3.

So the question is: Will we still have an active hurricane season?

The answer is yes, but perhaps some slight changes, and maybe downward.

We still have a La Nina. That means no strong upper-level winds from the Southwest to help tear tropical systems apart before they can develop or strengthen.

We still have above-average water temperatures over much of the main development region of the Atlantic Basin, and that's the fuel for tropical development.

The water temperatures are below average in parts of the Central Atlantic. Saharan dust has been moving across those cooler waters blocking incoming solar radiation.

Klotzbach also says strong winds across the Subtropical Atlantic helped cool those waters.

The wind helps move the water more, so it does not heat as efficiently. It also causes cooler water from below the surface to rise to the surface.

Keep in mind that it only takes one hurricane to cause major issues for all of us. We have had years with little activity and a major hurricane. Remember Betsy in 1965. Remember Andrew in 1992.

Hurricane season traditionally does not heat up until middle of August through September and into October. The most active day is Sept. 10.

While we are in a lull, it's a good time to get ready.

We have a long history of major hurricanes in late August and September.

READ THE FULL STORY:What's up with the tropics? Meteorologist Margaret Orr explains

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