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The tropical Atlantic has been mostly quiet since opening hurricane season 2019 in June. Aside from Hurricane Barry and Subtropical Storm Andrea, there hasn’t been much in the way of activity in the basin. This, however, is not unusual. The majority of tropical weather occurs between mid-August and mid-September, so the peak of the season is just beginning.
The good news is hurricane forecasters continue to call for an average to slightly below average hurricane season. That means roughly 14 named storms with approximately six becoming hurricanes and two reaching major hurricane status.
There are still a handful of issues for storms to contend with across the Atlantic. There has been quite a bit of Saharan dust — literally dust that blows off the Sahara Desert and makes its way over the Atlantic causing hazy, dry conditions and inhibiting storm development — over the basin and wind shear is forecast to remain at fairly high levels, particularly in the Caribbean, for the next few weeks.
While El Niño, the warming of the Pacific that causes higher than usual trade winds across the Atlantic, has weakened a bit, there is some thought it will persist into September, further limiting the ability for storms to grow.
For at least the next couple weeks, there is very little being forecast by most storm models. After that, we just need to wait and see. A lot can happen in the span of a month, particularly when that is at the peak of hurricane season. Fortunately, we are about five to six weeks away from the end to hurricane season for Texas. Typically, we get our first cool front by the third or fourth week of September and that generally signals an end to significant tropical activity for us.
Still, as we have all seen, it doesn’t take a major hurricane to inflict serious damage on any area hit by tropical weather. We’ll keep our fingers crossed until October 1.