Each year, hurricane season runs from June 1st through November 30th. In less than four hours, the 2016 Hurricane Season for the Atlantic Basin (comprised of the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico) gets underway. “Hurricane season” signifies the time period when most of our tropical weather happens. It doesn’t mean tropical development is impossible before or after those dates.
This year is a great example of that….since Hurricane Alex formed in January (photo source, NOAA).
Then, over the Memorial Day weekend, we had our second named storm — Bonnie (photo source, NOAA).
Hurricane season takes a long time to get going (almost until the beginning of summer) and carries deep into the fall (when it’s already turned chilly outdoors) because bodies of water take a while to heat up (after winter) and cool off (after summer). It’s the warmth from water that serves as the energy source for hurricanes and tropical storms.
The list of names for storms is developed and maintained by scientists within the World Meteorological Organization. This year’s list follows…
There are actually six lists of names in all. SO…unless a name gets retired this year (happens when there’s an especially strong or devastating storm), we’ll see the exact same list again six years from now, in 2022!
Tropical systems are most likely to develop in or move over three main areas in the Atlantic Basin during the month of June. They are…
1) Western Gulf of Mexico
2) Western Caribbean Sea
If you’ve booked a Caribbean cruise for June or are heading to Galveston or South Padre Island, TX, there’s no need to worry. It’s just that those are among the most favored areas for development in the weeks to come. Chances are quite high that vacationers with those plans will have their trips unaffected by tropical weather!
This year, NOAA’s forecast is for 10-16 named storms. That’s average or slightly above average. All it takes is one landfalling storm though to make it a bad hurricane season! In the last 10 years, the United States hasn’t had any major hurricanes (Category 3 (sustained wind 111-129mph) or higher) hit its coast. Let’s hope that streak continues through 2016!
Even though we don’t see tropical systems in the near future, we do see some badly needed rain for Middle Tennessee. Coming up tonight on Channel 4 News at 10pm, Lisa Spencer will share with you when you’ll need to keep your umbrella nearby again.