Lazaro Aleman: Greene Publishing, Inc.
According to an AccuWeather expert, for the next several weeks, conditions remain favorable for the formation of additional tropical storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.
Never mind that this Atlantic season has already broken a record of sorts with its 15 tropical storms, 10 hurricanes (including Ophelia) and five major storms. “Since the satellite era began during the early 1960s, 2017 is the only year where there have been 10 consecutive hurricanes in the Atlantic basin,” says AccuWeather meteorologist and hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski.
Moreover, he notes, as warmth persists over much of the southern and eastern United States in October, the potential is there for additional tropical storms and hurricanes to form and track near populated areas.
Normally in mid October, Kottlowski says, atmospheric conditions begin to change near North America, tending to result either in the inhibition of tropical storm formations or keeping them away from the mainland. This year, however, the overall atmospheric environment will remain favorable for tropical storm formation for several more weeks, he says. “Tropical and subtropical waters are still warm and winds aloft are rather weak in the key development areas,” says Kottlowski. “I think there will be at least two more tropical storms, of which one or two can become a hurricane into December. There is still a chance of one more major (Category 3) hurricane.”
Which is not to say that all or any of these storms will necessarily strike land in the U.S., Caribbean or anywhere, Kottlowski says. But he adds that the risk is definitely there. “Aside from an occasional mid-ocean storm, the typical tropical storm formation areas during the rest of October and November are farther west than during August and September,” said Kottlowski. “Since most tropical storms form in the Caribbean, near Central America and the southern coast of the U.S., it is nearly impossible for such a storm to avoid hitting land or at least avoid causing indirect impact.”
This year, according to AccuWeather, an area of high pressure will persist off the southeastern Atlantic coast. AccuWeather defines a high-pressure area as a large zone of sinking air that rotates clockwise. “The flow around this high is what is helping to pump temperatures in the southern and eastern U.S. and provide an avenue for tropical systems to travel upon,” said Kottlowski.
Another area to watch closely, according to Kottlowski, is off the southeastern U.S. coast. He notes that there have been some very destructive hurricanes during late October and November, including Category 5 Hurricane Mitch in 1998 and Category 2 Hurricane Sandy in 2012.