Our First Good Weather News All Summer

Let’s not repeat this, k?
Let’s not repeat this, k?
Image: NOAA

It’s the summer of apocalypse weather with wildfires, heat waves, and drought. But it looks like we could be granted a reprieve from the fourth horseman of the weather apocalypse—hurricanes.

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration updated its hurricane forecast on Thursday, and hey, good news. Due to a burgeoning El Niño, it’s likely that the rest of Atlantic hurricane season will be quieter than normal. It only takes one hurricane to do damage, though, and the peak of hurricane season is still ahead, so we’re not out of the woods yet.

The forecast calls for 4-7 hurricanes, of which up to two could become major ones with winds of Category 3 or greater strength. All told, NOAA is forecasting there will be 9-13 named storms. That includes tropical storms, hurricanes’ weaker sibling (though they can still dump copious amounts of rain). Overall, forecasters give this season 60 percent odds of being less active than usual, a huge uptick from the 25 percent forecast issued in May.

Saharan dust has played a role in tamping down activity, as have cooler-than-normal waters in the part of the Atlantic where tropical storms and hurricanes tend to form.

But the biggest reason forecasters think this year could be quiet is the creeping presence of an El Niño, which is characterized by warm waters in the eastern tropical Pacific. Those warm waters kickstart a series of changes in the atmosphere, including powerful upper level winds that cut across the Atlantic hurricane basin and tear storms apart or prevent them from spinning up at all.

Some storm systems will inevitably defy the odds, though, which is why forecasters continue to urge anyone living near the coast to stay vigilant.

“There are still more storms to come—the hurricane season is far from being over,” Gerry Bell, NOAA’s lead seasonal hurricane forecaster, said in a statement.

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This Atlantic hurricane season has been a bit of a weird one so far. It started a few days early when a subtropical storm (yet another flavor of hurricane-like weather) formed in the Gulf of Mexico. Said storm then turned tropical as it passed over land and basically made landfall again on the Great Lakes, all of which is extremely not normal. Three other storms have formed including tiny ass Hurricane Beryl, the first hurricane of the season.

The lower odds of a season of horrors like last year are a welcome forecast if ever there was one even with the statistical peak of hurricane season still ahead and the official end months away.

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Managing editor at Earther, writing about climate change, environmental justice, and, occasionally, my cat.

DISCUSSION

dnapl
Dense non aqueous phase liquid

Big gubmint deep administrative state time: from our friends at NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information. Data with presentation and analysis is free for now. That is until NOAA is sold off to the newly formed partnership including Accuweather, Climate Corporation and/or CME Group for 10 cents on the dollar.

BTW, Climate Corporation was established by ag commodity traders in Chicago and sold to Peter Thiel and his buddies at Founders Fund. He/they in turn sold it to Monsanto. Monsanto let Koch Agriculture get in on the deal. Now with Monsanto owned by the Germans it’s one of Bayer’s prized possessions. Like who really just wants to sell GMO corn and soybean seeds and more and more Roundup for a living? Peter Thiel was tough on Gawker. Gawker use to be a blog. Peter Thiel who is besties with the Trump Administration splits his citizenship between US and New Zealand. He’s also Elon Musk’s old biz partner. Elon Musk sells cars and tweets like a New Jersey based pumper and dumper.

Anywho...

Equatorial Pacific Sea Surface Temperatures

Pacific ocean that matters is getting warm as Brian said:

Nino 3.4 seems to be less La Nina and more El Nino

My expert opinion is... fuck, I don’t know. It might be good or bad for Midwest farm commodity crop yields going forward. The following opinion is considered a forward looking statement. In other words, it could be total bullshit. Who am I, a goddamn climate scientist?