Very Little on the Horizon for This Hurricane Season — So Far

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The hurricane season in the Atlantic runs from June 1 until November 30. So far, the 2019 season has been a bust, and nothing on the horizon appears likely to change that.

Forecasts call for 12 to 14 storms in 2019, of which five to seven will be hurricanes and two to four will be major storms. A minor storm, Andrea, started a day before the season began. It died with maximum winds of 40 miles per hour, well short of the threshold level of 74 miles per hour that signals a Category 1 storm. A new minor storm is churning in the Gulf of Mexico now. It could blow itself out well short of being a hurricane as well. It has a chance of causing substantial flooding but will not contain destructive winds.

So far, 2019 looks nothing like 2018, which produced eight hurricanes, including several that were devastatingly destructive. Florence was a Category 1 hurricane that hit the eastern seaboard. It smashed into North Carolina and cause $24 billion in damage. Hurricane Michael was a Category 5 storm, one of the strongest to hit the United States in history. It clobbered Florida and is estimated to have caused $25 billion in damage and caused hundreds of thousands of people to flee the coastline. However, a review of highly destructive hurricanes indicates it was not among the most devastating hurricanes of all time. These are the most powerful hurricanes of all time.

CoreLogic commented on the unusually large hurricane activity in 2018 and in the prior years: “This made 2018 the third back-to-back season of above-average hurricane activity in the Atlantic.” Among the storms from that period, Hurricane Harvey created one of the worst floods in American history. Despite the devastation the flood caused in the area around Houston, many have done far more damage. These are the worst floods in American history.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said this would be a “normal” hurricane season. So far, it looks like 2019 could be well short of that. While the pace at which storms form could accelerate, there is nothing on the radar now that is worrisome.


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