Hurricane season; it’s not over till it’s over

by Artemis on November 4, 2010

The 2010 Atlantic tropical storm and hurricane season has certainly proved to be as active as the forecasts suggested it would be even without the volume of landfalling events that were forecast. We’re currently up to 19 names storms this year and some forecasters are suggesting that we can expect more.

The Atlantic tropical storm season officially finishes at the end of November so there is plenty of time left for further storms to form and it isn’t unheard of for named storms to form right the way through November. The Caribbean sea surface temperature is high which could help to create further depressions, the Caribbean is generally where November storms will form.

Risk Management Solutions (RMS) said yesterday that weather conditions “are still ripe for further activity.” Wind shear is low in the Caribbean and combined with the warm sea temperatures is conducive for further storm development. “Sea surface temperatures are a major factor in tropical cyclone formation, but are not the only ingredient,” said Neena Saith, senior catastrophe response manager at RMS. “The levels of wind shear, which can suppress formation and are expected to reduce over the next few days across the Caribbean, will play a key role in hurricane activity over the coming weeks.”

Other forecasters we’ve spoken to are suggesting that we could see tropical storm Alpha this year. That happens when we run out of the pre-defined names for storms. With only two names left this year that does seem a possibility.

All eyes are on tropical storm Tomas right now. Having weakened from it’s hurricane status, Tomas is now a tropical storm with sustained winds of around 45mph. Heading for Haiti, Tomas is expected to strengthen again and stands a good chance of attaining hurricane status again before making landfall. Aid agencies are extremely concerned about the possibilities of severe flooding in Haiti as some are forecasting as much as 10 inches of rain from Tomas. Having suffered so badly this year, Haiti is extremely vulnerable to this heavy rainfall, flooding and landslides which are expected.

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