Hurricane Season 2012 Expected to Get More Active Before Ending
The Atlantic Hurricane Season 2012 got off to a very early start, with two named storms produced before the official start of the season. Forecasters expect that the season will actually become more active before finally tapering off and ending sometime around Thanksgiving.
Warmer than normal sea temperatures and unusual wind patterns are set to favor storm creation over the coming weeks, setting the stage for a busier than normal hurricane season, although the El Nino effect in the Pacific could have a counter effect if conditions are right.
So far, the 2012 hurricane season has produced four tropical storms and two hurricanes. Up to seventeen storms are expected over the course of the season. This figure means up to eight hurricanes, compared with a dozen named storms and two or three hurricanes over the course of a normal season. 2011 was one of the busiest hurricane seasons on record, with 19 named storms. This included hurricane Irene and tropical storm Lee, both of which caused extensive damage up and down the eastern seaboard, ranging from the Carolinas through Maine.
Meteorologists attribute the higher activity to oceanic and atmospheric conditions being in a perfect balance since around 1995. Similar conditions exist at the present time, which may be the conduit for the production of additional storms.
The Atlantic season kicked off early this year, with the formation of Tropical Storm Alberto off the South Carolina coast on or around May 19. Tropical storms have winds up to 39 mph, while hurricanes form once the winds reach 74 mph. The US mainland has not been struck by a major hurricane since Hurricane Wilma in 2005. This month marks the 20th anniversary of the Category 5 Hurricane Andrew which devastated much of southern Florida.
Andrew was also a grim reminder of the dangers of becoming complacent where hurricanes are concerned, as it was the first storm of a relatively slow season, producing just six storms.
The latest storm, Ernesto, weakened just this week to a tropical storm after drenching the Yucatan Peninsula. Little damage was reported, although torrential rains were a major problem in the storm’s path.
Residents in hurricane-prone areas are encouraged to remain vigilant and have proper safety measures ready to protect themselves and their property against the water damage potential of a major hurricane. This includes making provisions for food, water, and other vital elements, as well as a well-defined evacuation route.