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Active Hurricane Season

By: tornadocam , 7:27 PM GMT on October 24, 2012

For the third year in a row the Atlantic hurricane season has been above average. So far in 2012 we have had 19 named storms.We also saw 19 storms named in 2010 and 2011. Keep in mind in an average year the Atlantic basin sees 10 named storms, 6 become hurricanes and 2 become major hurricanes (category 3 or higher). So why so many tropical storms. The answer is strongly linked into the La Nina and El Nino affect. I will explain each scenario.

La Nina conditions is when waters in the tropical Pacific cool but the Atlantic water temps rise. Also in La Nina shearing winds, which suppress tropical storms from forming, are relaxed. This increases more tropical storms in the Atlantic basin. Recent examples of La Nina's 2004 (15 storms) 2005 (28 storms), 2010 (19 storms) and 2011 (19 storms)

Neutral conditions is when La Nina or El Nino are not present. Temperatures in the tropical pacific may be average are above. The Atlantic water temps may be average or above average. Shearing winds are present but they are typical. So due to the warm waters Neutral conditions also favor above average tropical storm activity in the Atlantic. Examples of Neutral years 2001 (15 storms) 2002 (12 storms), 2003 (16 storms) 2007 (15 storms) 2012 (current season so far 19 storms have formed)

El Nino, During El Nino years the tropical Pacific water temps warm while the Atlantic has cooler water temps sometimes. During El Nino years shearing winds are increased thus tropical storm activity in the Atlantic is greatly reduced and is often below average. For example in 2009 a very strong EL Nino was active and greatly reduced tropical storm activity. During the 2009 season only 9 named storms formed and most were short lived.

So far in 2012 we have been in a Neutral state. Water temperatures have been running above average. The systems so far in 2012 have been short lived but there have been a lot of storms. The reason for some of the storms being short is unlike the past two years there has been some shearing winds that are typical. This has kept a lot of the storms in check as so far only one storm has become a major storm.

we have till November the 30th to go so more storms can form. The bulk of the activity has occurred in the most active part of the season. August, September and October are the most active months in Hurricane season. However, if conditions are right November can be active and their have been late season storms in November some have been destructive

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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5:18 PM GMT on October 25, 2012
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About tornadocam

I'm a Christian who loves weather. I have been into weather since I was 3 years old and I continue to study weather, I'm also a weather spotter