Activity picks up in the tropics as we near peak hurricane season

Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 7:13 PM EDT
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NEW BERN, N.C. (WITN) - After a month of no storm activity, the tropics are heating up with three systems now churning in the Atlantic.

The uptick in systems forming this month comes as scientists say we are nearing peak hurricane season. Dr. Rick Luettich with UNC’s Institute of Marine Sciences in Morehead City says unfortunately this is the point in the hurricane season when more storms form.

“We’re starting to get into peak hurricane season. About the second week in September is when the number of storms historically has been maximum, so this is the leading edge to that,” explained Dr. Luettich.

Corey Davis is the Assistant State Climatologist and explained that late August into September is the prime time for the tropics because that’s when ocean temperatures are at their warmest.

“The ocean temperatures are at a perfect level right now and we do expect to see that warming continue and continue to see these storms move off of the coast of Africa,” said Davis.

The flurry in tropical activity comes just a week after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its report showing that because of climate change increased storm activity and stronger storms could become a part of the typical hurricane season.

“It made it clear that we should expect more stronger storms, whether or not there are more total storms is a little bit unclear but more of the category 4 and 5 storms is absolutely expected,” said Dr. Luettich.

Davis says the report also showed, “The climate projections do show overall increases in Atlantic Hurricane activity and one of the big changes that we’re already seeing locally is increased precipitation from these storms that move through. Just think back a couple of years to Florence that came through and set records for how much rain fell. It broke the records that were set by Matthew just a couple of years earlier and it broke the records that were set by Floyd just 20 years ago.”

Hurricane season runs through November 30th, and experts are strongly encouraging everyone to get ready now, for any storm that could head our way.

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