It's hurricane season. But where are all the storms?
Hurricane season is here, and there have only been three named storms since the start of the Atlantic hurricane season. Where are all of the storms?
A plume of dust and dry air off the coast of Africa is traveling thousands of miles across the Atlantic Ocean, inhibiting any storms from forming. This mass amount of dust and dry air is called the Saharan air layer. Strong low level winds in the atmosphere from the coast of Africa (African easterly jet stream) transports the Saharan air layer to Florida and sometimes extends to portions of western Texas. According to NOAA, the dust from the Saharan desert typically forms in the late spring and moves into the tropical Atlantic every three to five days.
Hurricanes need three main ingredients to form and grow: warm ocean temperatures of 80 degrees or warmer, a moisture-rich environment and weak vertical wind shear. The Saharan air layer peaks in late June and starts to diminish mid August. In fact, the peak of hurricane season is between August and October.
According to NOAA, the hurricane outlook explains that the likelihood of near-normal activity has risen to 30% and the chances remain at 10% for a below-normal season. Due to a continued La Niña pattern, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds, an active west African Monsoon and likely above-normal Atlantic sea-surface temperatures, this will set the stage for an active hurricane season. These factors are reflective of the ongoing high-activity era for Atlantic hurricanes.
Your News 12 storm watch team of meteorologists has you covered all hurricane season when storms impact your local area.