Hurricane Season Is Ramping Up… Looks Like We’re in for a Wild Ride

Usually when you look at a weather map this time of year, you see two things. A couple of tropical storms brewing and plenty of blue ocean.

The other day I looked at a weather map on my computer. The storms were taking up more room on the screen than the ocean was.

Six named tropical storms were swirling in the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. They were Humberto, Imelda, Jerry, Kiko, Lorena and Mario. All seeming to outdo each other.

Well, forecasters did say this was going to be a busy hurricane season. Dorian may have been just the first of many to cause immense power outages, destruction and even deaths.

Imelda = Harvey 2.0?

Imelda was already pounding southeastern Texas when I looked at the map. As of this writing, it has caused five deaths. And overwhelming flooding with historic rainfall estimated at 40 inches.

The storm made landfall in Freeport as a tropical storm. It dumped feet of rain in some parts. In Vidor, Texas, floodwaters reached the roofs of some homes.

Several other communities were submerged in two to three feet of water. The slow-moving storm reminded many of Hurricane Harvey. That was just two years ago.

The storm caused many people to be stranded in their vehicle. It even resulted in several vehicle related deaths due to floodwaters.

High-Water Rescues

First responders got more than 1,000 calls for assistance due to Imelda. More than 1,500 high-water rescues occurred. But some people did not make it.

All flights at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport were cancelled leaving many stranded in airports. A hospital and a TV station were evacuated.

Loose barges crashed into a bridge over the San Jacinto River. That forced the closing of part of a major freeway in the Houston area.

Hundreds of cars were abandoned on highways. And the storm was also affecting northeast Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas.

‘Forming Like Roaches’

Referring to the six storms that were simultaneously active, USA Today wrote this. “Sure, this is the middle of hurricane season. But this is ridiculous.”

A National Hurricane Center forecaster said the six active storms were believed to tie a modern record set in 1992.

He then tweeted, “They are forming like roaches out there.” Another meteorologist said, “It’s not something that you see all the time. But not unheard of either.”

Why is September so bad for hurricanes? For one, ocean temperatures are at their highest for the year. Also, winds that might otherwise break the storms apart are weaker.

Eyeing More Activity

Jim Sullivan is a long-range forecaster for WeatherWorks. He said, “Up through the middle or later third of August, conditions were generally unfavorable for storms.

“Right around when Dorian developed, conditions became much more favorable for storms.”

And the end is still a ways off. Andra Garner is a climate scientist at Rowan University. She said the atmospheric signs point to an even busier second half of the 2019 hurricane season.

“I think it is quite likely that we’ll see more activity in the Atlantic. Through October and the end of the Atlantic hurricane season,” she said.

A Storm By Any Other Name…

With all these storms currently active, we’re hearing them described in a variety of terms.

Storms are called tropical depressions when they are tropical cyclones with maximum sustained winds of 38 miles per hour or less.

They are called tropical storms if they are tropical cyclones with maximum sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph.

They are called hurricanes if they are tropical cyclones with maximum sustained winds of 74 mph or higher. In the western North Pacific, hurricanes are called typhoons.

They are called major hurricanes if they are tropical cyclones with maximum sustained winds of 111 mph or higher. That corresponds to a Category 3, 4 or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

Barry & Dorian Got It Rolling

No matter what a storm is called, and as many have experienced, they can easily knock out power and bring dangerous flooding to communities.

Already this season we’ve seen incredible devastation from Hurricanes Barry and Dorian.

We saw the Category 1 Hurricane Barry as it approached Louisiana in July. Resulting in approximately $600 million in damages in several states.

Then we watched Dorian demolish the Bahamas and America’s southern states, killing over 50 people and leaving hundreds of thousands of residents and businesses without power and many homeless.

You Need to Prepare

Eventually the hurricane season will end. Just in time for the year’s second tornado season. And then the winter storm season.

In other words, there’s no end to the trouble extreme weather will cause. It’s inevitable.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, you need to be prepared in order to take care of yourself and your family. It’s the only way to achieve peace of mind.

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