COULDA BEEN WORSE

ss-161008-matthew-path-destruction-mbe-1146p_402276f383eddbfd2046e4afe8a2df5a-nbcnews-ux-1024-900As disruptive as Hurricane Matthew was for St. Simons Island, Georgia, my favorite spot on the Atlantic Coast, it was not a worst-case, Eyewall-type scenario.

Matthew, most importantly (and obviously) was not a Category 5 monster.  But there was also a bit of luck that factored into things not being worse: the hurricane jogged slightly to the right, farther away from the coast, as it churned past St. Simons and Brunswick.  It also swirled by the island near low tide, substantially mitigating the effects of storm surge flooding.  Once past the Golden Isles, Matthew jiggyed back toward South Carolina.  So, yes, there was a smidgen of luck that hovered over SSI.

EL NINO AND EYEWALL

Eyewall-cvrThe Atlantic hurricane season is off to a stumbling start this year and doesn’t seem destined to become much better . . . or worse, depending on your viewpoint.  So far, only three relatively flabby (but soggy) tropical storms have popped up, Ana, Bill, and Claudette.

The Pacific basins, in contrast, have been spitting out hurricanes and typhoons like a toddler hurling his creamed spinach.

So what’s going on?  El Niño!  Yes, our favorite scapegoat for absolutely everything has returned.  (Well, maybe we can’t blame Donald Trump on it.)

A LOLLYGAGGER OF A HURRICANE SEASON?

andrewraThe 2015 hurricane season forecasts are out (see  Weather Channel graphic below) and the consensus is that activity in the Atlantic Basin (Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico) is going to be an underachiever.

So, what’s that mean for you if you live along or plan on visiting the Atlantic or Gulf Coast this summer?

Not much, it turns out.  The number of hurricanes and tropical storms that blossom in the Atlantic Basin has very little, if any, correlation to the number that actually hit the U. S.

THE BIG SHOW

The curtain is about to lift on “The Big Show” in the Atlantic Basin. Tropical storm and hurricane activity will ramp up rapidly from now until its climatological peak on or around the 10th of September. All we’ve seen so far in what is expected to be a hyper-active season are a few faltering dress rehearsals.

For the next six weeks, virtually the entirety of the Atlantic Basin–meaning the tropical north Atlantic, the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico–will come into play as birthing grounds for storms and hurricanes.

SO WHERE ARE THE HURRICANES?

We’re a month into the Atlantic Basin hurricane season now, and only a single tropical storm. Arlene, has dared make an appearance in what is expected to be an active year. But it’s not unusual for both June and July to slide by with only a minimum of turmoil.

Statistically, the first named storm in the Atlantic theater doesn’t pop up until about the second week of July, so things are actually ahead of schedule this season. The most likely areas for tropical development in July are the western Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico and just off the southeast coast of the U. S.