THE STAGE IS SET. HURRICANE SEASON BEGINS!

2013 HURRICANE SEASON Begins
The low level belt of easterly winds will be watched for tropical waves from the west African coast through the Caribbean Sea to the Gulf of Mexico. Right now, one of the last cool spells over the Atlantic seaboard has given way to summer-like heat due to the southerly circulation around the Bermuda ridge of high pressure in the Atlantic Ocean. In the Gulf of Mexico, a region of slightly lower pressure with the remnants of Depression Barbara is rather insignificant, but activity in the lower part tornado alley is still quite active.

Middle and upper level wind shear appears to have reduced the chance of an early season tropical storm; however, the pit of monsoon-like rains over the northwest Caribbean and Cuba that dumped up to five inches of rain on the southern tip of Florida continues to be a reservoir for possible June tropical storm formation. Fortunately, north Florida’s spring wildfire season was doused with episodes of heavy rain around March 21 and May 2. If these had not occurred, we would have been eager for our summer shower season to advance up the Florida peninsula to our area during the month of June.

Severe flooding was the highlight of last year’s storms. BERYL and DEBBY caused near record floods in north Florida. ISAAC hit south Florida and areas around New Orleans with more than a foot of rain. Superstorm SANDY punctuated the season with massive destruction along the Jersey shore and areas around lower Manhattan.

This hurricane season is predicted to be as active as 2012. Coastal residents and those living in flood-prone locations should keep informed of this year’s storm effects as reported by the National Hurricane Center, local media and their Emergency Operations Center. People ask me if I think we will be hit by a hurricane this year? I used to reply probably not. But in the light of the extreme behavior of weather systems lately, my fear is that a category 4 hurricane like FLOYD in 1999 might not turn away before striking our coast!

Stay tuned.

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