Here Comes the Tropical Trio

October 13, 2016
Hurricane Ivan

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 articles. 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.