For the first time on record, both the Atlantic and the East Pacific have had tropical storms form before the opening of hurricaneÂ season.
In the Pacific, Tropical Storm Aletta began swirling four hours before the official opening of the East Pacific Hurricane Season on May 15. In the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Alberto started the Atlantic Hurricane Season 13 days before the official June 1Â beginning.
Does this mean we will have long and active hurricane seasons? It all depends on El NiĂ±o. If El NiĂ±o develops in the Pacific, it will put a break to the storm development in the Atlantic. It wonâ€™t stop the weather disturbances altogether, but it will stop most from growing large enough to become tropical storms andÂ hurricanes.
Rememberâ€”the recipe for a tropical stormÂ is:
- Take a normal rainstorm and combine it with anÂ ocean.
- Simmer gently over warm waterÂ Â (+80ËšF)
- Stir with favorableÂ winds.
Where Atlantic tropical storms usually form in June. SOURCE: NOAA
Thanks to the fast flowing Gulf Stream, we have some very hot waters in the Gulf of Mexico and off the East Coast. These are the areas where early season hurricanes start. Now, we even have favorable winds over these regions. Tropical Storm Alberto developed last week and scientists are watching waters off the Florida coast for another possibleÂ storm.
Thatâ€™s where an El NiĂ±o changes the situation. The El NiĂ±o is a huge weather phenomenon. Over a million square miles of the Tropical Pacific change temperatures. The warmer water heats the air above it, which changes air pressure. That changes winds, especially tropical winds. Since the phenomenon is so huge, it changes tropical winds all around theÂ globe.
In the Atlantic, the high altitude winds tend to be strong and sheering. As a storm grows, the high winds sheer the top off, keeping it from growing into a hurricane. There always are some hurricanes in El NiĂ±o years, but usually a lowerÂ number.
The warm waters of the El NiĂ±o shape tropical high and low level winds andÂ weather.
This year, we are seeing early tropical storm development in the Atlantic. We probably will even see an active hurricane season in the early part of the year, as storm after storm simmers over the warm Atlantic. Then if the models are right, El NiĂ±o will develop sometime in late summer or early autumn and rescueÂ us.
Itâ€™s shaping up to be a story tale season. The damsels in distressâ€”Georgia, Florida and the Carolinasâ€”will be threatened by monstrous tropical storms. Then El NiĂ±o charges in on a white horse and quells the monsters by chopping off their tops. HappyÂ ending!