Quiet Hurricane Season on the Horizon?

2018-08-10 16:35:16.000 – Tom Padham, Weather Observer/Education Specialist


With the month of August underway we’re heading into the peak of hurricane season, but it’s looking more likely that this year will overall be a down year for tropical systems (not a bad thing necessarily!). So what’s the reasoning for this? NOAA recently updated their seasonal outlook for the tropics (article here) explaining some of their reasoning. 

A few of the reasons include already being slightly below average for this point in the season, below average sea surface temperatures across the tropical Atlantic, and a predicted formation of El Nino conditions by the fall.

 How typical El Nino conditions alter weather patterns across the tropics. Image courtesy of NOAA

In addition to this, dust from the Saharan Desert has been pretty extensive in the mid levels of the atmosphere reaching from west Africa all the way into the Gulf of Mexico at times. This has acted to suppress convection (thunderstorms) needed for the development and organization of tropical systems. This happens somewhat frequently during the summer and fall each year, this year has just been more active than most and is adding to the other factors above.

Saharan dust as seen from space off the west coast of Africa in 2008. Image courtesy of NASA.

Even with the prospect of a more quiet remainder of the hurricane season, we shouldn’t let our guard down as a single land falling storm can cause catastrophic damage. In the event of any sort of emergency, be it from mother nature or otherwise, it’s always important to have a plan. https://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan is a great resource for putting together a plan and emergency kit.


Tom Padham, Weather Observer/Education Specialist

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