Here Comes the Tropical Trio

Oct 13, 2016
Hurricane Ivan


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Are you ready for the Tropical Trio—heat waves, monsoon storms and hurricanes?

Ready or not, it’s summer and a tropical weather pattern will be coming to a neighborhood near you.

You remember grade school science?

Typically teachers would hold a light and have some kid carry a tilted globe around it to explain the seasons.

In summer the Northern Hemisphere is tilted towards the sun and the Sun’s rays hit that part of Earth more directly than at any other time of the year.

The result, the teacher explained, was longer days and hotter weather. Tropical climate surges north.

In summertime, the tilt of the sun allows the sun’s rays to fall directly on the Northern Hemisphere
Source: The National Snow and Ice Data Center

The direct solar radiation on our hemisphere peaks in June. However, as summer continues, the land continues to heat, usually reaching a peak in the middle of July.

Welcome to the peak. According to a number of weather services, we can expect over 40 states to roast this week with temperatures of 90°F or above. Temperatures will soar through the Great Plains to the Eastern Seaboard.

Not all the tropical weather patterns are unpleasant however. In the Southwestern desert, July is when the rainy season of the monsoon begins. This year the rains have begun across Arizona, southern Nevada, Utah, and into Colorado, but unfortunately have bypassed parched New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma.

The ocean takes longer to warm, so the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season is not until September.
Source: NOAA

Tropical weather patterns will continue to evolve. Land temperatures may peak in July and early August, but the oceans are slower to warm. They reach their peak in late August and September. Then as they simmer, they will bring the last of the tropical trio—the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season. We have already seen the first tropical storm Arlene, and as this is being written, something appears to be brewing off of Florida. But the real fun begins in late August and the first two weeks of September.

It all sounded so simple back in that air-conditioned classroom. But now school is out, summer is here and so are heat waves, monsoon rains and hurricanes.

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.

Reader Comments

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Do the sunspots and solar activity have anything to do with this? I heard that there is a strange weakening in the sun.

Solar activity

Solar activity affects Earth's temperature, but it is a slow effect. Our planet stores a lot of heat, so it takes an entire reduced solar cycle to make a clear impact. We have only had about 3 - 4 years of lower activity.
The 2013 Old Farmer's Almanac will have a good article on just this subject.

it's hot as blazes!

Last year when crude oil was spewing out of the BP well head a mile deep under the Gulf I read on the NOAA site they had read earth temperture globally had risen a degree and a half the first six months of 2010. My first though was "what's next?"
About the oil leak in the gulf, I don't beliee they capped it, I believe it fizzled out to almost no flow then they piled some rocks on it or poured enough disbursent on it or installed a timed release dsbursent spitting machine, enough to finish it off. It won't be the first time government or big business has lied to us is it?
Well, you guessed it. A blustery heavy snowfall Winter(was it a record maker), a wind blowing Spring(some of the strongest tornadic winds on record), dust storms, drought, record rainfall enough to get our Mississippi River out of her banks and a Summer heat wave like nothing on record(strangly in the middle of the North American Continent and the south which is nearer the Equator isn't doing nearly as bad as the mid-west except for drough, fires and dust storms mostly in the southwest. Since 2000 we have had more record events in weather and natural diaseters on earth that I can remember during my life. I hear largest or strongest or most on record pretty often now days when weather is being predicted. What's next? Anybody out there keeping up with things around the world, are they having epic amounts of weather also or is it just us?


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