Tropics Still On Hold

2+ months in and still no named storm. How long can it last?

A very unusual thing is happening this season in the tropics......nothing.

In the busiest decade ever for tropical storm development, with an average of 16 named storms a year since 2000, the slow start to the 2009 season seems a little odd, but its certainly not unprecedented..

In the Atlantic basin, on average, the first named storm of the season usually forms around July 10th. Although we are now about a month past that average, there have been slower starts in the past.

The latest date recorded for the first named storm of the season came back in 1977, when Anita formed on August 29th. The August 16th development of Andrew in 1992, didn't slow that storm from reaching category 5 status before slamming in South Florida on August 24th. Slow starts in the past 10 years include 2000, when the first storm formed on August 3rd, and 2004, with the first storm of the season forming on July 31st that year. Despite the slow starts in those years, both seasons ended up yielding 15 named storms.

So can we make any assumptions based on the slow start this year....not many. We will probably stay below the seasonal average of 16 storms this decade, but Hurricane Andrew taught us not to make assumptions about any season. The 1992 season of Hurricane Andrew ended up with only 6 named storms. There have only been 3 years with fewer named storms in the last 40+ years: 1972 with 4 named storms, 1982 with 5 named storms, and 1983 with 4 storms. The lesson Andrew taught us is obvious, even the slowest of seasons can bring the most dangerous of hurricanes to the US coastline.

So as we continue to watch for Ana to form this year, we should always be prepared for the possibility of things changing quickly, while continuing to hope for more of same....take your time Ana.


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