Monday, May 2, 2016

Looks Like We're In For Nasty Weather

The National Hurricane Center recently came out with its forecast for the number of hurricanes it expects to develop in the Atlantic Ocean when the 2016 Atlantic tropical-cyclone season starts  on June 1 - eighteen tropical storms in all, eight of them hurricanes, three of them major - Category 3 or above.  If the forecast holds, this will be the largest number of Atlantic storms for a single hurricane season since 2012 - when Hurricane Sandy reached the New York City area and became a superstorm. 
Did I happen to mention that there's already been one hurricane in the Atlantic this year - Alex, in January?
The 2012 Atlantic tropical-storm season, by comparison, had nineteen storms, ten of which were hurricanes and two of which were major, Sandy being one of them (though it weakened to a Category 1 storm by the time it made landfall in New Jersey, the other, Hurricane Michael, having never made landfall anywhere).  Sandy was notable in that it had formed late in the season, it had formed after seventeen storms had come and gone, and it had gotten so far north.  Although the Northeast hasn't been hit since, it's only a matter of time before we get another Cat 3 storm like the 1938 hurricane that made landfall on Long Island before moving north into New England, devastating Providence, Rhode Island in the process.  (New Jersey was affected mostly on the coast by that system; the Atlantic City boardwalk was destroyed.)   
On the other hand, there was also the even more active 2005 Atlantic storm season - so active, it extended beyond the official November 30 end-of-season date and produced 27 storms, the last six of them named with Greek letters because all the names had been used up - and while Florida, not hit by a tropical cyclone since, got hit a few times, New York and New Jersey weren't.  The New York City area, though, did get some of the rains from the remnants of Katrina, which had famously hit New Orleans as a Category 5 hurricane.  Nothing serious up in the Northeast then.  But the trend seems to be toward hurricanes sparing Florida and affecting the Northeast more often - Joaquin in 2015 came dangerously close to striking New Jersey, and while it spared the state, it generated a separate storm that hit New Jersey anyway (and knocked a tree onto the power lines of my street).  So, yes, I'm afraid of what this season will bring, especially after the close call of Joaquin, the direct hit of Sandy, and also the grazing we got from Irene in 2011 (my power, miraculously, did not go out that time).
I'd like to encourage my cousin in Florida to move back to New Jersey, given the horrors of living in the Sunshine State - constant heat and humidity, nasty insects, Rick Scott - but she won't.  She'll likely say to me, "Move back to New Jersey?  Aren't there hurricanes there?"    

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