Friday, June 01, 2012

June 1: Start of the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season

What!?! It’s the start of the hurricane season? Really? How did that happen? Why didn’t anyone tell me! Why didn’t anyone tell Mother Nature?

Well… a grand Welcome to the official start of the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season. I won’t play the ‘guess how many storms we’ll have this season’ game, but I will tell you that I’m positively convinced, with 100% certainty, that there will be at least two named Tropical Storms. ;-)

It is too soon to say how active this season will be (I know a few people are a tad concerned) and having two pre-June storms isn’t a good indicator at all. The reason we have an official ‘hurricane season’ from June 1 to November 30 is because that’s when we get about 97% of the storms, with around 78% occurring during the peak season from August-October (from Landsea’s 1993 paper). Here is a figure I made a few years ago that showed the track of all the storms from 1851 to 2005 (graph credit: ME):

You  can see there are quite a few in May. You can also clearly see that in the early and later parts of the season the storms develop in the western Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico/Caribbean region, and during the peak months they develop in the eastern Atlantic. So to have two storms in May that formed in the western Atlantic just means that they are in the elite 3% (the other 97% may be protesting somewhere ... ;-)). Anyway, I like these dinky little storms. They bring much needed rain and they don’t cause too much damage (generally speaking). They are, indeed, agathokakological (hee hee… June 1… already dusting off the fun words – are you all ready? ;-)).

Now on with my amazingly fabulous opening remarks. J Here are a few background notes so you know what you are getting into (and remember, you can always watch reality TV if you prefer):

1. These updates are about fun, forecasting, and education... and tropical storms (and whatever else pops into my head that may, with some imagination, fit those three words). It is just what I think.

2. I have a British sense of humoUr... you have been warned.

3. This is my hobby - sometimes you'll get one update a day, sometime four. If you are really lucky, you won't get any. If you wish to pay me to write, let me know and I'll send out updates as frequently as you like.

4. I hope you like Monty Python, Eddie Izzard, the IT Crowd. And other funny stuff.

5. If you have any questions (preferably about tropical storms), please do not hesitate to ask. I will be happy to make up the answers for you. Over the years (and even over the past couple of weeks), I've talked about a lot of things already, but I can cut and paste from previous entries as well as the next person so if I say something or use some "scientific jargon" (ooh ahh, how thrilling), please please ask me about it.

6. I often write tongue-in-cheek, which sometimes hurts my cheek but what can you do? Gentle sarcasm, irony, and puns are all acceptable forms of communication. Unfortunately they don't always translate in writing so please don't be offended - like Planet Earth, I'm "Mostly Harmless" (Douglas Adams). Have a piece of chocolate or a drink instead.

7. I'm sure every cloud in the Atlantic is exciting to some but, unless I'm bored, I'll usually write about those that I think have a chance of developing.

8. If you are reading this via email, are sick of me cluttering up your in-boxes, and would prefer to get it via the web go here... (and send me an email telling me to remove you).

9. I am not always right. But then neither is anyone else. Forecasting is complicated. Sometimes the crystal ball gets smudges and you are all out of Windex to clean it and the store is closed. So PLEASE pay attention to the National Hurricane Center, National Weather Service and your Emergency Managers - especially when a storm is looming because they have the most up-to-date information!!

10. I admit it. I am a twit. I am sometimes on twitter (@jyovianstorm). (I’m also sometimes on tumblr… but that’s mostly pretty pictures of the UK and stuff, so if you want to day-dream, find me there.)

Before I run off (to see an opera this evening J) – Part 1: Being British and all, I have to congratulate Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, for reaching her Diamond Jubilee. Only 4 more years I think, and she’ll be the longest reigning British monarch (Queen Victoria currently holds that title). I shall have a Gin and Tonic to celebrate.

Before I run off (to see an opera this evening J) – Part 2: I have to tell you what I did today! The West Central Florida American Meteorological Society Chapter arranged a wonderful field trip… I went to see the hurricane hunter planes at NOAA’s Aircraft Operations Center in Tampa. Thanks much to the folks at NOAA’s AOC for their time and tour. It was great and I’ll be mentioning things from this visit at random moments during the season.

That’s all I have for the opening speech… and we’re off to the races! (which, coincidentally, is how The Queen is beginning her Jubilee celebrations this weekend).

Toodle pip!

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DISCLAIMER: These remarks are just what I think/see regarding tropical storms - not the opinion of any organization I represent. If you are making an evacuation decision, please heed your local emergency management and the National Hurricane Center's official forecast and the National Weather Service announcements. This is not an official forecast. If I "run away, run away" (Monty Python), I'll let you know.

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