The 2017 hurricane season is being predicted by NOAA to be “above-normal” in comparison to previous years even though a Florida hurricane has not hit. So far, a hurricane has yet to form in the Atlantic, although Tropical Storm Emily surprised some residents. However, a tropical system called 99L has a chance of forming into Tropical Storm Gert in the next several days near the Caribbean.
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center says the 2017 hurricane season has “a 45 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 35 percent chance of a near-normal season, and only a 20 percent chance of a below-normal season.” NOAA’s hurricane forecast predicts a 70 percent chance of having between 11 to 17 named storms in 2017. They are also expecting there to be between two to four major hurricanes, which means they are Category 3, 4, or 5. In a comparison, an average hurricane season has only 12 named storms and three major hurricanes.
“The outlook reflects our expectation of a weak or non-existent El Nino, near- or above-average sea-surface temperatures across the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, and average or weaker-than-average vertical wind shear in that same region,” said Dr. Gerry Bell, lead 2017 hurricane season forecaster for NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.
In a little over a month, there have been six named storms in the Atlantic. According to Accuweather, Tropical Storm Franklin’s path holds no danger for Florida, Texas, or any of the other southern states. Instead, Tropical Storm Franklin is expected to hit Mexico twice this week, first passing over the Yucatan Peninsula on Monday night before heading out into the water again. Accuweather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski believes it’s possible that wind speeds could be close to calling the storm Hurricane Franklin before tonight.
“Franklin will bring flooding rainfall with totals of 4-8 inches in some locations, along with damaging wind gusts of 40-60 mph to the Yucatan Peninsula,” according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Kyle Brown.
Brian McNoldy of the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science notes that the storm has a low chance of becoming Hurricane Franklin.
“Although very few models predict it will reach hurricane intensity, that can absolutely not be ruled out,” said McNoldy, according to the Washington Post. “The storm is now in an environment where rapid intensification can occur.”
Tropical Storm Franklin has formed in the northwestern Caribbean. No impacts to the U.S. are expected. pic.twitter.com/Hzw2vLcOh2
— NWS Jackson MS (@NWSJacksonMS) August 7, 2017
Tropical Storm Gert The Next Threat During The 2017 Hurricane Season
The height of the 2017 hurricane season will be from mid-August through mid-October since hurricanes can form in the Atlantic and Carribean easier due to the high heat. According to Florida Today, the National Weather Service said temperatures in Florida reached “near record levels largely because of an end-of-month heat wave.”
By Sunday afternoon, the National Hurricane Center forecast that a lower pressure system called 99L had a 50 percent of strengthening during the week. Over the next two days, it has a zero percent chance of formation, but as time passes the chances of development increase. However, 99L will have to overcome weather conditions near the Cabo Verde Islands and the Lesser Antilles.
“The shower and storm activity associated with Invest 99L is currently disorganized,” said WIS First Alert Team Meteorologist Von Gaskin. “It is also in unfavorable waters for additional development.”
If 99L turns into Tropical Storm Gert then at least one of the computer models predicts that the storm will track in the direction of the northern Carribean and Florida. Other computer models either forecast that 99L will move either north or toward South America.
— WIS News 10 (@wis10) August 7, 2017
Even if 99L does not develop into a tropical storm or Hurricane Gert, the chances are that another weather system will earn the name during the 2017 hurricane season.
[Featured Image by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]