30 November 2017

The Atlantic hurricane season from hell is finally over

Today is the last official day of the Atlantic hurricane season. Since I started writing and sharing updates on tropical Atlantic activity in 1996, I've written approximately 1,160 updates spanning 345 tropical cyclones, including 163 hurricanes, 75 major hurricanes, and 40 retired storm names. I was honored to have been invited to write blog posts for the New York Times for four years and then for the Washington Post for six years and counting.  Thank you for your continued interest!

My 22nd annual season summary is available on WaPo's Capital Weather Gang blog, and is a tag-team effort with long-time friend and colleague Phil Klotzbach and CWG founder/editor Jason Samenow:

The Atlantic hurricane season from hell is finally over

06 November 2017

After a one-week hiatus, the tropics have sprung back to life

Not surprisingly, another tropical cyclone has formed in the Atlantic.  Tropical Depression 19 is located in the central Atlantic, far from land; it is centered about 850 miles east of Bermuda and 1400 miles southwest of the Azores.  The Depression is embedded in moderately strong vertical wind shear, as evident in the satellite image below (the thunderstorm activity is displaced east of the low-level circulation center).

It is expected to continue to strengthen to a tropical storm as soon as later today, at which point it will become Tropical Storm Rina, the season's 17th named storm.  While that storm count is well above average for a season, 2010, 2011, and 2012 each had 19 named storms. The official hurricane season ends at the end of the month, but as I mentioned in a previous post, these hyper-active seasons are also more prolific in the late-season and post-season timeframes.

TD19 is forecast to strengthen slightly as it heads off toward the northeast, but then transition to an extratropical cyclone by mid-week.  It *could* contribute just enough ACE (Accumulated Cyclone Energy) to push the 2017 season into 6th place overall, nudging out 2004, but still behind 1933, 2005, 1893, 1926, and 1995.  It will be close.

The name "Rita" was retired after the 2005 season, and replaced with "Rina" (how creative, right?) for the 2011 list. In 2011, Rina became a major hurricane in the western Caribbean in late October, and now, assuming this system does get upgraded, 2017's Rina will innocently come and go, allowing the name to show up again on 2023's list.