Atlantic and Eastern Pacific Off To Fast Starts In 2012

Both Basins Churn Up Storms Prior To June 1st

Seasonal Forecasts indicated an average year in the Eastern Pacific, and a relatively quiet year by recent standards in the Atlantic. However, things have not gone according to plan over the first month of the EASTPAC season and the first two weeks of the Atlantic season.

As of Friday morning, the Eastern Pacific had three named storms including the latest in Carlotta, which has become the season’s first hurricane. More activity is also expected as a monsoon pattern has developed in the tropical waters south of Mexico. Some of this activity could cross into the Western Caribbean region of the Atlantic next week.

Speaking of the Atlantic, the season had not even started two weeks ago, and there were already two named storms. Both Alberto and Beryl formed off the Southeastern Coast with Beryl causing the most trouble by bringing some six or so inches of rain to Northeastern Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina before heading out to sea. Beryl was the closest of the two storms to becoming the season’s first hurricane with 65 mile per hour winds.

Climatologically speaking, it is very rare for a tropical storm to stir up in the Atlantic before June 1st, but it has happened. Back in April 2003, Tropical Storm Ana formed on Easter Weekend. Then, in May 2007, Subtropical Storm Andrea developed. On average, there have been pre-season storms every 6.5 years. More trouble could be on the way as well.

The monsoonal pattern that has developed near the ITCZ south of Mexico is expected to push into the Atlantic Basin by the middle of next week. Models indicate that a disturbance could flare up within the next 10 days in the Western Caribbean, which is the prime area for tropical formation in the Atlantic this time of year. On average, a tropical storm forms in the month of June once every two years or so. The most powerful storm was Hurricane Audrey back in 1957 while the most costly was Tropical Storm Allison in 2001.

In 2011, the first named storm, Arlene, didn’t form until the very end of June (June 28th). The first hurricane didn’t develop until late August (Arlene). There were 19 depressions, 18 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes. Meanwhile, in the Eastern Pacific, there were 13 depressions, 11 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and 5 major hurricanes.