Tracking the Tropics: A quiet start to hurricane season

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(WFLA) – It’s been a quiet start to the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season, but will it stay that way?

We saw our first named storm of the season, Subtropical Storm Andrea, a week before hurricane season began on June 1. But since then, the tropics have been relatively quiet.

NOAA is predicting a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season. Their forecast predicts nine to 15 named storms, four to eight hurricanes and two to four major hurricanes. Major hurricanes are category 3, 4 or 5 storms with winds of 111 mph or higher.

While we have not seen a June hurricane in the past several decades, it’s not completely unheard-of. 

In 1945, an unnamed hurricane swept through the Gulf of Mexico from June 20 through June 27. It started in the western Caribbean Sea as a tropical storm, then moved through the Yucatan Channel and Gulf of Mexico. It approached Florida with hurricane-strength winds but weakened before reaching the state’s west coast. After moving across the state and into the Atlantic, it regained hurricane intensity but weakened again as it approached North Carolina.

In 1966, Hurricane Alma moved through the Atlantic and into the Gulf of Mexico from June 7 through 14. Alma caused excessive rainfall and significant, deadly flooding in Honduras. It went on to hit Cuba as a strong Category 2 hurricane, damaging structures and crops. Alma weakened and became a tropical storm as it moved through the Florida Panhandle and Georgia, but picked up speed and became a hurricane again off the coast of Cape Hatteras in North Carolina.

Hurricane Agnes, one of the largest June hurricanes on record, developed June 14, 1972. It started as a depression over Yucatan and moved into the Caribbean Sea. It strengthened to become a tropical storm and then a hurricane as it moved toward the Gulf of Mexico. It weakened quickly after moving into the Florida Panhandle and dissipated on June 25.

We will be hosting a weather chat every Wednesday throughout the hurricane season. Check back next Wednesday for our next webcast!

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