Here We Go Again …The Hurricane Season Is Underway
Friday, June 01, 2012
The 2012 Hurricane season is off to a quick start with two storms already in the books before the season officially got underway on June 1st. The last two years have been mega-seasons for tropical storm activity with 19 named storms in both 2010 and 2011. So, does this rapid ramp-up mean that this season will be an even bigger one? Not according to the five long-range hurricane-predicting organizations I checked in with.
Just about all of them have been pretty much spot-on in their predictions of big seasons during the past couple of years. This year they are all in agreement that it will be a “normal” or slightly below normal year for overall activity. So apparently the quick jump-start is not necessarily a predictor of big things to come. An “average” hurricane season usually spawns 11-12 named storms, 6-7 of which become hurricanes and, of those, 2-3 become major hurricanes (winds of 111mph or greater). There were 19 named storms in 2010 and 2011 but this year the consensus seems to be in the 10-12 range with 4-6 becoming hurricanes and 2-3 reaching major hurricane status.
Most seem to agree that the number of storms forming far out in the tropical Atlantic will be considerably reduced this year with most storms forming closer to the U.S. mainland in the Western Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico or Caribbean.
While having fewer storms form in a season lowers the odds of one of them affecting New England, past records show that our most catastrophic storms occurred in so-called “below normal” years. There were only 8 storms in 1938 when we experienced our most destructive and devastating hurricane. Carol and Edna in 1954 hit New England in a year when there were 11 storms. There were only 8 storms in 1991 when Bob blasted through Southeastern New England. Nationally, the all-time most destructive storm, Andrew, hit Florida in 1992. That year there were only 7 named storms.
So, here in 2012, Alberto (1) and Beryl (2) are already checked off … only time will tell whether we get to Joyce (10), Kirk (11) or Leslie (12) or perhaps, the list ender, William (21).
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