Good evening once again everyone. I’m gradually getting out of my winter doldrums, and my high school basketball mode. However, I’ve still had problems with my computer, and some minor health issues that I had to take care of. In addition to that, I was trying to follow the recent April Nor’easter that affected the Northeast including New Jersey, and my hometown. I took some video footage that you can see at YouTube, and there’s information in another blog posting about that.
Anyway, I finally got around to posting stuff to the blog, and I have been sending e-mails to those on my mailing list regarding the latest news going on in the world of hurricanes. While the last hurricane season was a rather quiet one despite prognostications to the contrary at the beginning, forecasters have been giving indications again that this season will be an active one with 17 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and 5 major hurricanes.
The 2006 Atlantic Hurricane Season did not turn out the way many had anticipated because of the fact that a weak El Nino developed during the middle of the season, and squashed any significant tropical development during the peak time of the year. Since that time, the latest El Nino episode has dissipated, and been replaced by a La Nina. Atlantic Hurricanes flourish under La Nina conditions since sea surface temperatures in the Eastern Pacific are cooler than normal, and as a result, tropical activity is usually below normal. Shear and turbulence generated by Eastern Pacific storms, which can hinder the development of Atlantic Hurricanes, is reduced, and therefore, tropical cyclones in the Atlantic Basin have greater chances to mature and intensify.
However, the El Nino/La Nina phenomena is only one ingredient to the hurricane forecasting recipe. You also have to take into account rainfall in the Sahel region of Western Central Africa. When you have above normal rainfall in this area like we have seen over the past dozen years or so, tropical activity has a good chance of being above average. If conditions are such as those experienced between 1970 and 1994, where there was significant drought, tropical development is usually down. This year, there may be some indication that rainfall could be below normal in this area. While Dr. William Gray, and his forecast team at Colorado State have concluded that sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic have been above normal, and the El Nino has dissipated, there wasn’t much discussion of the situation with rainfall in the Sahel.
If you were paying attention to the news lately, Accu-Weather had given a forecast a few weeks ago that said the Gulf Coast was once again vulnerable to an intense, or major hurricane. To review, a major hurricane is one that is Category Three, or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. Joe Bastardi, the Chief Forecaster of the Accu-Weather Hurricane Center indicated that not only one in six people in the United States could be affected by a hurricane, but also that the “Texas Gulf Coast faces the highest likelihood of a hurricane strike, possibly putting Gulf energy production in the line of fire.”
One thing is for sure, and that is the weather not only here in New Jersey, but also in other parts of the United States has been dreadful for this time of year. Who would have thought that January would be more like May, and April would be more like late November and December? Just ask baseball fans in Cleveland and Seattle, which have struggled to keep up with their schedule due to numerous rain outs and snow outs. Not only have we seen a rare Nor’easter in the month of April, but temperatures have been below normal, and there doesn’t seem to be any let up in sight. With these unusual swings in weather, which have raised more debate about the prospect of global warming and climate change, one has to wonder what will be in store of Hurricane Season 2007.