June 27 2018

There are three reasons the hurricane season in the Atlantic is likely to be less active. Not just less than the crazy major hurricane active of last season, but below average. That might not be hard to imagine here in the Mid Atlantic after our weather has been cool and wet. In fact the soggy spring and slow start to summer for us have nothing to do with the topical outlook. It may play a role in how the storms that do form relate to us.  But the development has three road blocks this year.

I just want to put the info out for you to see, so this will be quick and to the point.


1) El Nino Watch for the Pacific

The tropical water in the Pacific Ocean is running warmer than average. This is a signal of a developing El Nino, which will increase hurricanes/cyclones in the Pacific. But that increases upper level winds and limits development in the Atlantic.






2) Cool Sea Surface Temperatures in the Atlantic

The tropical zone of the central Atlantic has surface water temperatures running 1ºC to 3ºC below average. That is a hinderance to tropical development that feeds off of warm water.


I need to point out that sea surface temperatures are warmer than average in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and along the Atlantic in the Gulf Stream.  While the overall Atlantic will be slow, where the action is, it is likely to be focused on the southeast US.



3) Sahara Dust

This photo from the GOES East taken this morning had a large smudge of brown across the Atlantic. One reason the water temperatures has been cool is the large supply of dust from the Sahara. This is tracked every year and called SAL or Saharan Air Layer. This can provide a thin film on the ocean surface plus dry the air to limit storm development.


Stay tuned…

Hurricane Season in the Atlantic is June 1 to November 30.  Peak activity is in the middle of September when water temperatures are at their warmest. Low overall activity does not mean we have no concerns. There can always be one strong storm that hits a populated area in slow seasons.  But we can bet on the overall action being much less than last year.


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