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Storms to Come!

After what can only be described as a dull summer

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Thundershowers for Northern South Africa

A low pressure system is currently situated around the North

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Cape Town Storm 7th March 2010

The past 2 weeks have been really interesting around the

Atlantic Pre-Season Storms

I keep having to check my calendar to make sure I’ve got the current date right… It’s only May 28 today and already we have had 2 tropical storms in the Atlantic and a major hurricane in the Eastern Pacific. For those of you versed in hurricane tracking you’ll know that the hurricane season starts officially on June 1st and storm formations prior to the season starting, while not unheard of, is fairly uncommon. But having two storms pre-season, both of which were not the worst looking tropical storms of all time either, is definitely a rarity.

It is causing a lot of excitement among trackers, though as we all know, there is no direct sign of what will be a hectic season and what won’t. We look at things such as La Nina and El Nino, Sea Surface Temperatures in the Atlantic, Saharan Air Layer. But as we saw in 2005 and the years following, there is just no way to truly predict a hurricane season, the 2005 official forecast was for slightly above normal storms, it turned out to be sheer insanity. After that they forecast an above average season for 2006, likely because of the wake of 2005. The NOAA was calling for 13 to 16 storms in 2006, but alas… There were only 10 storms that year and no landfalling hurricanes!

2012 though has already gotten off to a large start, already 1/5 of the 2006 tally before the season has even begun, but this begs the question of whether this is a sign of things to come, or merely a short passage of favourable conditions that will give way to more common early season environmental hostility. We are currently in a neutral ENSO with slight El Nino possible later into the season according to the models.

While Alberto wasn’t much to talk about, albeit a rare pre-season tropical storm, Beryl is putting on quite a show. Beryl made landfall near Jacksonville, Florida this morning as a high end tropical storm which was possibly hurricane strength for a short period. I wouldn’t be surprised if it is bumped up to a hurricane in post-season analysis, if it is… A hurricane in May would be quite something indeed.

The GFS and CMC models did excellently in picking out this development weeks ahead of time and credit must go to the ‘Good for Shit’ and the ‘Constantly Making Cyclone’ models, as they are referred to by some.

Looking ahead the models aren’t bullish on any more development, but all the weather fans are currently watching blobs in anticipation of development. It’s important to remember than cyclone activity doesn’t always continue on in the way it starts and in many seasons there are late starts which end up being really active, while at other times there are early storms, and then large lulls which end up creating average or below average years.

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