A hurricane and twin tropical depressions form in Atlantic: Why now?

No major hurricane has struck Florida in nearly 11 years. Could that streak soon end?

NOAA/Weather Underground/AP
This NOAA satellite image taken Sunday at 12:45 a.m. EDT shows Puerto Rico mostly clear, between two systems that are bringing widespread clouds and thunderstorm activity over the Atlantic, as well as over Hispaniola. The tropical wave expected to impact the southeastern United States also continues to slowly move northwest, bringing thunderstorms and heavy rains with it. Much of the Lesser Antilles, save the far northern islands, are cloud-free.

Hurricane Gaston strengthened into the first major Atlantic hurricane of the season this weekend, as two tropical depressions also formed around the coast of the US. 

Tropical Depression 9, which formed in the Florida Straits on Sunday, moved Monday into the southeastern Gulf of Mexico, with forecasters warning that it could turn into a tropical storm later in Monday or Monday night.

Meanwhile, Tropical Depression 8, which formed west of Bermuda, is moving toward the coast of North Carolina. That depression is expected to strengthen into a tropical storm overnight, threatening to bring rain and high winds to eastern North Carolina. 

Hurricane Gaston, which reached category 3 status around the same time on Sunday afternoon that Tropical Depression 9 formed, has moved northwestward into the Atlantic, posing no threat to any land mass, forecasters say. On Sunday, the hurricane reached maximum sustained winds of 120 mph, but is expected to slowly weaken over the next two days. 

The hurricane and tropical depressions come at the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season during a particularly active year. 

"We've had six named storms so far, that includes Alex, but [no] major hurricanes yet," said Dennis Feltgen, with the National Hurricane Center, to Florida Today. "For the number of named storms and the number of hurricanes, we are running a little bit faster than an average year."

Florida has not been hit by a hurricane in eleven years, since Hurricane Wilma in 2005. 

"That was not only the last major hurricane to hit Florida but the last hurricane," Mr. Feltgen said. "But that remarkable streak is going to end."

Though the Atlantic hurricane season technically began on June 1st, we're now in the midst of the "season within the season," a period lasting about eight weeks, from mid-August to mid-October, which is the most active – and dangerous – time for tropical cyclones. This period accounts for 78 percent of tropical storm days, 87 percent of category 1 and 2 hurricane days, and 96 percent of the major hurricane days. 

Why now? 

"There certainly is no lack of disturbances throughout the entire six-month hurricane season. Tropical waves are coming off of the coast of Africa roughly every three days, and the very early and late parts of the year provide additional types of potential seedlings," writes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). "What’s different, though, is the environment that these potential tropical cyclones tend to encounter. Both dynamics (wind factors) and thermodynamics (temperature and moisture) play a role."

If it looks like a hurricane may be headed your way, the NOAA recommends familiarizing yourself with The Family Disaster Plan, available on the National Weather Service or the American Red Cross websites, putting together a supply kit filled with the essentials, and keeping track of storm and hurricane activity.

This report contains material from Reuters and the Associated Press. 

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to A hurricane and twin tropical depressions form in Atlantic: Why now?
Read this article in
https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2016/0829/A-hurricane-and-twin-tropical-depressions-form-in-Atlantic-Why-now
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today
https://www.csmonitor.com/subscribe