Today marks the official start of hurricane season in the Atlantic Basin. Of course, this date is arbitrary. We picked it because most tropical storms and hurricanes happen between June 1 and November 30. We’ve seen over the past 6 years just how arbitrary these dates are, as this year marked the 6th in a row that a tropical or subtropical storm received a name before the season officially started. Subtropical Storm Ana formed on May 22 and briefly became a tropical storm before dissipating in the North Atlantic.
This trend of named storms before the season started has been going since the name Ana last popped up in the list back in 2015. Since 1971, we’ve seen a trend towards tropical systems receiving names earlier in the year.
This trend has led to some discussion among meteorologists about whether the hurricane season should be extended; starting in mid May. While that’s not happening this year, the National Hurricane Center did take the step to begin daily routine tropical weather outlooks on May 15. In the past, they had only issued outlooks as needed until the season started June 1. While the season now has officially begun, we’re a long ways off from the peak.
NOAA has predicted another above average season in the Atlantic this year.
The forecast gives a 60% chance of an above average season, with 13-20 named storms, 6-10 hurricanes, and 3-5 Cat.3 or stronger hurricanes. No matter how the season turns out, it only takes one bad storm to define a season. You can keep up with any tropical systems that form using the interactive radar feature on Live Alert 19. Just toggle on tropical tracks and satellite.