Summer Weather Update | The Light Lab

Summer Hurricane Update

Better get yourself a tall drink of something packed with lots of ice. It’s going to be a long, hot summer.

Current temperature forecasts show Texas will likely continue broil under above-average temperatures throughout July and into August and September. forecasts for Houston and San Antonio predict daily highs in the mid to upper 90s.

If it’s any comfort, much of the rest of the country will be baking with us, especially the northeast, the northern Great Plains, and even Alaska.

Meanwhile, the long range forecast for October to December indicates a 40% probability of above-normal temperatures for almost all of North America. That usually ball-parks out to 4°F higher.

Of course, with heat at the end of June comes the threat of severe storms which can include tornados, hail, or intense rain. In west Texas, sudden rain storms pose a danger of flash flooding. North Texas has been particularly wet during the first week of July due to a high pressure ridge stuck in an eddy of the jet stream over the Rockies. This has been sending hot, unsettled air into north Texas and causing storms almost daily.

Summer Weather Update | The Light Lab

It’s Also Hurricanes Season!

The Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1 through November 30 and so far, only one, tropical storm Cindy, has made trouble for Texas. This year’s season is likely to be more active than last year.

Each year in late May, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center releases its annual hurricane forecast for the Atlantic/Caribbean basin. Other weather organizations such as the Weather Company (formerly Weather Services International), Tropical Storm Risk (TSR) of the Dept. of Space and Climate Physics, University College London, and the Tropical Meteorology Project at Colorado State University also released their predictions as summer starts cranking up.

This year, the general consensus points to a more active season that last year. The chief reasons were an expected slow developing of a late summer El Niño, lower possibility of vertical wind shears in the main development area, and lots of warm water in the Atlantic. So here’s how all four forecasts compare:

 Hurricane Predictions, 2017
NOAA CSU UPDATED Weather Co. TSR UPDATED Average, 1981-2010
Number of named storms
(winds 39 mph+)
11-17 15 14 17 (±3) 12
Storms becoming hurricanes
(winds 74 mph+)
5-9 8 7 7 (±2) 6
Major hurricanes
(Cat. 3, 4 or 5, winds 111 mph+)
2-4 3 3 3 (±1) 3

What’s Happening Now?

It looks like the El Niño that was expected to develop in late summer might not at all. While there are warm sea surface temperatures in the ENSO area of the Pacific and lots of warm water, the atmosphere hasn’t shown any signs of warming and changing circulation, yet. So for now, conditions are in ENSO Neutral and look like they will stay that way into fall.

In the Atlantic, warm waters are indeed present in the main development region (MDR) with the center lane having water temperatures warmer than 80°F.

For these reasons, CSU updated their prediction, as did TSR to show increased odds for hurricanes this summer. That’s because warm water in the MDR facilitate tropical storm formation while Neutral ENSO conditions are less likely to create wind shears over the Caribbean that tear apart storm systems.

And Caribbean storms have an annoying habit of making straight for Texas.

Get Prepared!

No matter how many hurricanes or tropical storms make landfall, it only takes one to cause a tragedy. That’s while it’s vital for you family to be ready for any storm. Head over to the Light Lab’s Weather Prep Center for tips on how to prepare for the big storms, what to do when the lights go out, and more. You can also keep informed about storm-related emergencies and news by following First Choice Power on Twitter and Facebook.

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Vernon Trollinger is a writer with a background in home improvement, electronics, fiction writing, and archaeology. He now writes about green energy technology, home energy efficiency, the natural gas industry, and the electrical grid.