The Freaky Atlantic Hurricane Season of 2012

Oct 13, 2016
Tropical Storm Debby


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Every hurricane season has its own personality. The 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season is already revealing itself to be a weirdo in a hurry.

From two early birds, to a “zombie” to Tropical Storm Debby currently drenching Florida, every storm this season has broken a record!

And that’s only the first month of the season. We have five more months to go!

Tropical Storm Debby

Dilly-dallying Debby dumping on Florida SOURCE: NOAA
Click to expand picture!

Let’s look at the parade:

Tropical storms Alberto and Beryl were early birds with split personalities. When Alberto formed on May 19, it was the first time on record that a tropical storm started before the official season in both the Atlantic and Pacific. Four days later, Beryl began and it broke a 100-year-old record by becoming the strongest tropical storm to hit the coast of the Atlantic before the official start of the hurricane season.

Besides breaking records, both storms literally blew hot and cold. They started off as subtropical storms, a very unusual type of storm. A subtropical storm is a normal thunderstorm cluster that drifts over hot water and begins to turn tropical. It is a swirling tropical storm near the surface of the water and a cool thunderstorm higher up. Both Alberto and Beryl warmed up and eventually became completely tropical. Then they pounded the Southeast coast with heavy rains.

Chris: The “Zombie Hurricane” wandering in the North Atlantic


Hurricane Chris was even more unusual – in the words of AccuWeather meteorologist Rob Miller, it was a zombie! “It was alive, but it should not have been.” The first hurricane of the season formed at the same latitude as New Jersey! Never before since record keeping began in 1851 has a tropical storm formed that far north in the Atlantic this early in hurricane season. It was too far north, the waters were too cool, yet there was Chris staggering through the North Atlantic.

Now we have Tropical Storm Debby. For the first time in hurricane history, four tropical storms have begun before July 1. Unlike her three tropical partners, however, Debby has been in no hurry. She is currently lingering off the coast of Florida, generating rain and tornadoes.

The weird season of 2012 is not all bad news, however. The cluster of tropical storms has brought desperately needed rain to the drought-stricken South. Additionally, many experts are predicting an El Niño during the second half of the year. If that happens, the freaky Atlantic Hurricane season of 2012 will finally slow down.


About This Blog

Are you a weather watcher? Welcome to "Weather Whispers" by James Garriss and until recently, Evelyn Browning Garriss. With expertise and humor, this column covers everything weather—from weather forecasts to WHY extreme weather happens to ways that weather affects your life from farming to your grocery bill. Enjoy weather facts, folklore, and fun!

With heavy hearts, we share the news that historical climatologist and immensely entertaining Almanac contributor Evelyn Browning Garriss passed away in late June 2017. Evelyn shared her lifetime of weather knowledge with Almanac editors and readers, explaining weather phenomena in conversation and expounding on topics in articles for the print edition of The Old Farmer’s Almanac as well as in these blog posts. We were honored to know and work with her as her time allowed, which is to say when she was not giving lectures to, writing articles for, and consulting with scientists, academia, investors, and government agencies around the world. She will be greatly missed by the Almanac staff and readers.

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I live in North Carolina

I live in North Carolina right on the beach...does it seem to be that we are gonna be hit by a hurricane this summer with the way the weather has been and its been such along time since we have had a bad one hit our area...Atlantic Beach, NC ...Thanks you for your answers....

I thought that if the waters

I thought that if the waters were warm than the tropical storms can travel up with the same speed but the cool water slows them down. I live in Prince Edward Island and our waters are at record highs with such a hot summer. Is the hurricanes more likely to affect us due to the warm waters?

So if the el nino develops by

So if the el nino develops by late summer-early fall we may actually see a return to more normal, typical weather for the time of year? Would we likely see normal precipitation and temperatures this fall and winter, if so.. I may have to stock up on more snow melting salts and jackets this fall that never were used last winter. Thats not a bad thing! Im hoping things will change

Many people are hoping for

Many people are hoping for the el nino (as myself) but is it really going to fix everything that this past winter messed up?

Normally an El Nino is the

Normally an El Nino is the reverse of the type of weather we have seen for two La Nina winters. If it comes too soon after a La Nina, you are going from one extreme to another. If it arrives slowly, it heals the droughts caused by the La Nina.

I don't think el niño is

I don't think el niño is going to happen this year . Maybe in the winter , but not now. Nor next summer.

I will write about El Nino

I will write about El Nino during the weekend and post it on Monday. The Tropical Pacific is warming!

Im near Raleigh, North

Im near Raleigh, North Carolina and i WISH we had a hurricane move up here. It is supposed to be awfully awfully hot and dry for the next week or 2 im very worried because 106-108 degrees plus HUMIDITY??? its gonna feel like its 109-113 degrees its gonna be torture out here. ugly, humid, hot, hazy, dry, sticky, dangerous. Thats the way to describe this misery. UGH! im hatin' summertime right now and looking foward to July, they said we are going to be dry and sultry for quite a while hurricanes bring cooling rain. Is rain too much to ask for, come on? Will we turn wet and cooler soon Evelyn?

I'm so sorry! Here we have

I'm so sorry! Here we have been having dry roasting heat.

It really looks as if there will be a future shortage of hurricanes. If we do get a summer El Nino, it normally brings a lovely late summer.

When is el nino likely to

When is el nino likely to develop? I really hope that this fall and winter will return to normal and bring more rain and snow to the United States as a whole! Wouldnt a colder and wetter fall and winter be an appreciated change? I hated the drought-stricken winter that wasent. I would be soo happy if the sweet little boy brought us more normal weather and slowed down our hurricane season! I wish Debby would give me some of her rain in central VA

There is so much interest in

There is so much interest in El Nino that I will write about it in the next weather blog. It will be posted Friday or Monday.

The good news is that it should reverse a lot of the problems we currently have, the drought, heat and hurricane season on steroids.


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