July 05, 2005
All Eyes On the Gulf 2005: The Fun is Just Beginning

This year's hurricane season has already set a record, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Cindy is expected to be more wet than windy and Dennis is not yet a serious menace to anyone, but together the two tropical storms churning the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean are making history.

Along with Tropical Storm Arlene, which blew across the Florida Panhandle in mid-June and short-lived Tropical Storm Bret, which soaked eastern Mexico in late June, the 2005 hurricane season thanks to warmer-than-usual Gulf waters and favorable atmospheric circulation has begun with an unprecedented flurry of activity.

Lee Frasier, captain of the charter boat Vamoose, secures the vessel with extra mooring lines in Biloxi, Miss., on Tuesday as Tropical Storm Cindy advanced toward the Gulf Coast. Barely a month into hurricane season, there have already been four named storms.

"This is the earliest date ever to have had four tropical cyclones in the Atlantic basin," National Hurricane Center forecaster Richard Pasch said Tuesday. Hurricane activity usually peaks in September and October.

The good news is that so far the first four named storms of the season have been relatively weak ones, a common characteristic of early season weather systems that arise in the Gulf or the Caribbean Sea.

The bad news is that the worst may be yet to come. Although early season activity is no statistical harbinger of the future, forecasters have been expecting the 2005 hurricane season, which lasts until Nov. 30, to spawn 15 named storms, including at least eight hurricanes.

They also say there is a 77 percent chance that at least one intense hurricane will strike the U.S. coast, most likely in Florida, which is still recovering from a record four hurricanes last year.

Meanwhile, as the whirl churns, the global-warming soap opera continues, with some scientists claiming that global warming may increase hurricane intensity, and others downplaying the threat. All told, most scientists seemt to agree the number of storms is probably not directly related to climate change.

Posted by Jim Dallas on July 05, 2005 to Websurfing | TrackBack

Global warming is a very real concern and I don't like some of the U.S. stonewalling on the issue in Kyoto and elsewhere.

Having said that, the Chicken Little scientists whose null hypothesis seems to be that global warming is the likely cause of just about all weird weather is not doing anyone a service, IMO. If anything, I think it makes many people more skeptical of what are likely legitimate claims and conclusions.

Posted by: Tim on July 6, 2005 7:02 AM

Yeah, it's going to be a doozie. Maybe give our eyes a break with the itallics. Dennis is forecast to have (though, this is way out) 138 mph winds when it makes landfall. That makes it a major hurricane and, depending on the high pressure over florida, could land it anywhere from Port Aransas to Miami. That being said, the best chance is between LA and the FL pahandle.

Posted by: matth on July 6, 2005 9:21 AM

Among climatologists there is consensus about global warming causing ever more and bigger storms--including hurricanes--due to more heat energy.

And what ought to get people's attention right away is the newer computer models from Rice University of increased hurricane storm surges here in Houston because of greater coastal development.

In the face of a catagory 4 or 5 hurricane, people need to be aware that evacuation will be imporant. At high tide in a direct hit, a catagory 4 hurricane storm surge will be approximately 27 feet high, and a catagory 5 hurricane storm surge will be approximately 33 feet high. And, the surge will come many miles inland to about 10% into the east side of the 610 loop.

Soap opera? I don't think so.

Posted by: Bev on July 8, 2005 8:43 PM