09.04.12

Atlantic Activity Surprising So Far In 2012

Posted in Commentary, Storm Facts, Tracking the Tropics at 5:03 pm by gmachos

Despite Early Forecasts For A More Average Season, Atlantic Storms Near Record Pace

So much for a less active than usual Atlantic this season. The statistical peak is less than a week away, but already there have been 13 named storms that have formed. The latest storm, Michael, emerged on Tuesday morning from a tropical depression that developed on Monday afternoon. Think about it for a minute. The tropics in the Atlantic have already produced an “M” named storm, and we’re just at the beginning of September.

A couple weeks ago, the 2012 season equaled marks for the fastest forming “J” storm of the season, and then almost equaled the 1995 season for the earliest forming “L” storm. With the formation of Michael, the 2012 Atlantic Season was only second to the historic 2005 season for the earliest forming “M” storm. In 2005, Hurricane Maria developed on September 2nd while Michael formed on September 4th. The “M” storm for 1995, Hurricane Marilyn, formed in the early evening of September 12th.

It is pretty amazing considering all of the talk about an El Nino developing, and the lower expectations given prior to the start of the season, and we’re now seeing a year that is rivaling the most active hurricane seasons in the past 20 years. To be just two days off the pace of the most active season on record is simply mind-boggling. In 2005, there were 28 named storms with 15 of those storms becoming hurricanes, and 7 becoming major hurricanes. Four of the major hurricanes were Category Five strength at one point. Meanwhile, 1995 was the year that kicked off this latest busy cycle, and the third most active season behind 1933 and 2005. In 1995, there were 21 depressions, 19 named storms, 11 hurricanes, and 5 major hurricanes.

So far this season, 2012 is looking more like 1995 did. Despite the record numbers of storms, there have only been five hurricanes, and we’re still waiting for our first major hurricane. There were a couple landfalling systems in the United States with Hurricane Isaac bringing the most damage. Some parts of Louisiana were hit harder by Isaac than they were by Hurricane Katrina back in 2005. However, despite rivaling the 2005 season’s record pace, this year is far from being as brutal a season as that one was.

Still it is quite amazing that despite the low expectations for this season in terms of overall activity, it has fared quite well.

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