2010 Hurricane Season
The 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season is upon us. Even though it has been five years since some of the worst hurricanes in history came ashore; the scars of hurricanes like Charley, Ivan and Katrina are still evident. Thankfully, the turmoil of the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons were followed by less turbulent years. With the exception of Hurricane Ike in 2008, the United States has been spared major impacts from tropical systems. In fact, the last major hurricane to make landfall in the United States was Hurricane Wilma in 2005. However, the quiet waters of the Atlantic Ocean appear ready to stir again.
The elements for an active season have slowly come together over the past few months and mimic the setup of past active seasons. One major factor is the very warm waters in the Atlantic Ocean, particularly the Caribbean Sea and the Central Atlantic. This will promote extra development of tropical waves from Africa that could result in long track Atlantic hurricanes similar to Hugo, Floyd and Frances. Another factor is the strong El Nino, that has influenced unusual weather conditions lately in North America, has collapsed and there is a neutral setup in the Pacific Ocean. The cooler waters will limit upper level shear that inhibits development of tropical systems in the Atlantic. Models forecast that there could even be La Nina conditions around the peak of hurricane season. One last factor that is troubling for the United States is that there could be strong, prevailing Bermuda Highs that would prevent storms from re-curving in the Atlantic. If there are a lot of tropical waves that do develop in the central Atlantic, then conditions could be right to send the storms in the general direction of land.
Based on the current conditions, I believe the 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season will be very active, probably one of the most active in history. My forecast is that there will be 19 named storms. Due to high wind shear, I think the season will start off slow, like most hurricane seasons generally do, with just 2-3 named storms from June to July. The season should accelerate in early August and I believe that there will be 7-12 named storms from August to September. Finally, due to record warm ocean temperatures and favorable late season atmospheric conditions, I think there could be 4-6 named storms from October to November. If there are 19 named storms it would tie the 1995 and 1887 hurricane seasons for 3rd most active of all time. The 2005 season ranks 1st with 28 named storms. Due to the favorable water temperatures and forecasted atmospheric conditions, I believe that any tropical storms that form will have little holding them back from becoming hurricanes and major hurricanes. I believe the 2010 hurricane season will produce 10 hurricanes (4th all time) and 5 major hurricanes. No matter how many storms develop, I am confident that this season will produce a major hurricane that will impact the United States.
Named Storms – 19 Hurricanes – 10 Major Hurricanes – 5
My fears are that if this hurricane season does bring the next monster storm towards the United States coast, then people are not going to be prepared. A lot of Americans are worried about the state of the economy, and this could influence people not to buy new hurricane supplies and/or prevent evacuations due to poor financial situations. Also, it has been so long since the country has been confronted by a powerful storm and some coastal residents may choose to ignore the danger because the images of what a major hurricane can do are out of their thoughts. It is always important to pay attention to officials and evacuate when told to do so. The United States has not been tested by a major natural disaster since Katrina and hopefully lessons have been learned. Remember, it doesn’t matter how active a hurricane season will be, it only takes one storm to change a community forever.