After a quick start to the hurricane season with four named storms, it has been a very quiet July in the tropics. John Wilson of Austin was wondering if this is normal and what does it mean for the rest of the season.
Normally the tropics don't get too hectic in July. Eight percent of all tropical systems develop this month.
The peak time for hurricanes occurs late in August and early in September.
The last time we didn't see a tropical system in July was in 2009 and we ended up with only nine by the end of the season. In the last 25 years, there have been seven years with no storms in July.
All these hurricane seasons happened during an El Nino phase, which is the warming of the eastern pacific.
This leads to more storminess over the pacific and then produces stronger winds in the upper levels called wind shear across the Atlantic Basin. Tropical systems have a tougher time developing with strong wind shear in place. We are starting to see this happen already this season.
The hurricane outlook reflects the impacts from El Nino showing a 70 percent chance of a near average season with totals lower than last year. So the bottom line, this season won't be as busy but it only takes one major hurricane landfall to make it a bad one.
By the way, the most active July happened in 2005 with three hurricanes and two tropical storms. By the end of the season the total ended up being a record breaking 28.
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