As Hurricane Lane moves toward Hawaii the weather in the tropical Atlantic remains very quiet. The National Weather Service and the experts at Colorado State University are forecasting a quieter than normal hurricane season in our part of the world.
The Atlantic hurricane season peaks on September 10th. In Connecticut, virtually all of our hurricanes have struck in late August, September or October. We have many weeks to go!
Still, this year is expected to be a quiet one for hurricanes and tropical storms and there are two main reasons. The first reason is a persistent area of colder than normal sea surface temperatures between the Caribbean and western Africa. We call this the Main Development Region or MDR. Hurricanes thrive on warm water. Warm ocean water is the fuel the hurricanes need to grow and mature.
The second, and most important reason for the current dearth of tropical cyclones is the presence of unusually dry air over the Atlantic Ocean. Dry air from the Sahara Desert in Africa has pushed west over the MDR and has essentially prevented much in the way of sustained thunderstorm activity.
While this year is expected to be a quiet one there is an important cavaet here. It only takes one storm in the wrong place to be catastrophic. One strengthening hurricane near a big city on the Gulf or Atlantic is all it takes to turn a quiet season in terms of numbers into a destructive one in terms of damage.