Breakdown: Why the tropics are relatively quiet so far

BREAKDOWN: Why the tropics are relatively quiet so far

(WMC) - What was forecasted to be an active hurricane season has been quiet. Alberto, Beryl, and Chris have been the only named storms thus far, and right now it looks to stay on the rather inactive side as we move into August.

One of the main reasons why tropical systems have not been forming is because of lack of fuel for storms. Right now, the Atlantic waters that fuel storms are cool. In fact, the waters off the coast of Africa are the coolest they have been since the early 1980s.

This colder water means less fuel for storms. That is due to high pressure over the Atlantic and more stable air. It suppresses strong thunderstorms which are the foundation for hurricane formation.

The stronger than normal high pressure in the Atlantic has made our trade winds stronger, and this has intensified ocean mixing, evaporation, and upwelling--all processes that cause the Atlantic waters to be quite cold.

While a colder tropical Atlantic usually means reduced Atlantic hurricane activity, there is still a window of time for the trend to reverse and the waters to warm, but the time is running out quickly. With hurricane season already underway, we are moving into the peak months of August through October.

This doesn't mean we will let our guard down. Quiet seasons can bring terrible storms. Back in 1992 Hurricane Andrew impacted South Florida. Andrew did not form until August 17 of that year.

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