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.
July hurricanes, if and when they occur, are rarely major. The last one worthy of note: Dennis in 2005 which smashed into the eastern Gulf Coast. (Dennis, the fourth named storm of what went on to become the busiest season on record, was christened on July 5th.)
July tropical systems typically track into the Gulf Coast or along the Atlantic Seaboard (see graphic).
Even though things have been relatively bucolic so far, don’t take that as a harbinger of things to come. It typically isn’t until August that the atmosphere over the tropical oceans begins to boil and bubble.
Last year’s activity got off to a stumbling start with just two named systems in June and July, then thundered to life with 12 storms and hurricanes billowing up in August and September.
So don’t let your guard down just because there hasn’t been much tropical saber rattling yet. The attacks will come. Best you be ready.
-June 30, 2011-
IMAGE: Climatological tracks of July storms and hurricanes (graphic from National Hurricane Center).