EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Much of the eastern seaboard has been seeing an active weather pattern lately, but so far, things have been quiet in the Atlantic basin when it comes to hurricane season.
Southern New England did feel the impacts, while relatively minor, of one storm already in Tropical Storm Elsa, which formed over the Atlantic, about 1,200 miles east of the Lesser Antilles.
Elsa briefly became a hurricane off the west coast of Florida but made landfall as a tropical storm, bringing heavy rain and tornadoes from Florida to New Jersey as it raced up the coast. The storm made landfall over Watch Hill on July 9, bringing downpours, gusty winds and rough surf.
Elsa was actually the last tropical system the Atlantic has seen. Nearly a month later, the open Atlantic looks quiet — for now.
NOAA’s National Hurricane Center updated its season forecast on Wednesday, but no major changes were made, with an above-average season still expected. The new forecast calls for 15 to 21 named storms which includes the five we’ve already seen thus far.
The peak of hurricane season doesn’t occur until late August and September, so even though it started on June 1, there is still a long way to go. Hurricane season ends Nov. 30.
For Southern New England, the peak is September since climatologically, that’s when we’ve seen the most tropical storms and hurricanes.
Water temperatures across the Atlantic are very warm which adds fuel to any potential development of tropical activity.
As tropical waves exit the west coast of Africa, there will be a long path to travel over warm waters. Add in the potential for low wind shear and lack of Saharan dust, which both would increase the chances for development, and it’s a recipe for an active second half of hurricane season.
As a result, the National Hurricane Center is expecting things to ramp up in August and September.
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