Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

Three named storms so far and that is early to have that many. None near us but it is the numbers that count.

This above-average hurricane season is off to an above-average start. There have been three named tropical storms from the start of the season June 1 through July 2: Alex, Bonnie and Colin. Bonnie and Colin formed in the same weekend. In a typical season, the Atlantic wouldn’t have its third named system until August 3, according to the National Hurricane Center. This puts us one month ahead of a typical hurricane season’s schedule. The NHC branch chief of the Hurricane Specialist Unit, Eric Blake, said it’s still too early to tell if this is indicative of the rest of the season. As of Thursday, there are no tropical systems in the Atlantic, marking another lull in the season. “Most of the activity occurs after the first of August. For an entire season on average, there can be a lot of intraseasonal variability,” Blake said.

We may be ahead of schedule but we are behind last year showing the effects of climate change.

So far, this above-average season is still less active than last year’s, which had five named systems by July 7. However, last year’s June was an extreme outlier, setting the record for the earliest fifth-named storm on June 30. There were 21 named storms last season, including Hurricane Ida which caused an estimated $95 billion in damages across the state after it made landfall in southeast Louisiana on August 29. Tropical Storm Alex, which formed from the remnants of Hurricane Agatha, passed over the Southern tip of Florida before it was named on June 5 and traveled into the Atlantic Ocean.

The cone of probability for Tropical Storm Alex after it was named.
image from the National Hurricane Center

Bonnie was next and it was south of the Gulf.

Tropical Storm Bonnie was named July 1, and became Hurricane Bonnie after crossing over the Nicaragua-Costa Rica border into the Pacific Ocean.

The cone of probability for Tropical Storm Bonnie after it was named
image from the National Hurricane Center

Colin was close behind but farther up the East Coast.

Tropical Storm Colin quickly formed off the coast of South Carolina on July 2 and traveled up the coast before quickly dissipating.

The cone of probability for Tropical Storm Colin after it was named
image from the National Hurricane Center

Bonnie was the most unusual forming so far south.

Blake said that seeing a storm like Bonnie form so far south in the Caribbean this early in the season is unusual. But it’s happened before, and he’s not very surprised. All of these Atlantic systems have only gotten as strong as tropical storms. “It’s early in the season so far,” Blake said. “It’s been a little more active, but generally the systems have been weak and short-lived.” Blake said that because it’s still early in the season, residents should make hurricane preparations in advance to be ready in case of an emergency. “It only takes one, and people have to be ready,” he said. “People should be ready, in very active seasons or in a very quiet season.”

He is right, it only takes one.

Hurricane season is here and we are ahead of schedule