[Updated at 9:54 a.m.] The 2010 hurricane season is about half over and it’s already produced the same number of storms than what we would typically see in an average season.
With Karl now on the list, that makes 11 named storms, five hurricanes, Alex, Danielle, Earl, Igor and Julia, and of those, four have been major hurricanes with winds of 111 mph or greater.
An average season brings 11 named storms, six hurricanes, and two major hurricanes. It's scary to think there could be many more on the way.
Thankfully no major direct hits so far this season, as the winds have been steering the stronger hurricanes close to the united states, but not onto the coastline. The Bermuda High over the Central Atlantic steers storms across the ocean has had a frequent “weak spot” allowing storms to curve to the north.
But the powerful storms have been kicking up huge waves, making for dangerous beach conditions off and on along the eastern seaboard. Two systems did impact Texas - Tropical Storm Hermine entered the state through Mexico and brought major flooding and Tropical Depression 2 came ashore on South Padre Island, Texas. Tropical Storm Bonnie made landfall in Florida on July 23rd with winds of 40 mph.
During peak hurricane season, storms can develop very quickly and it’s not unusual to have multiple storms in the Atlantic at one time. They can also form almost anywhere over the open water.
Two of the factors that aid in hurricane development are warm water temperatures and light winds. According to NOAA, the summer of 2010 was the fourth warmest on record. This makes for incredibly warm water temperatures that can help maintain powerful hurricanes. In addition, La Nina, the sister of El Nino, has formed in the equatorial pacific.
When La Nina is present, it tends to create calmer winds in the Atlantic, allowing storms to ventilate and grow. All signs point to a continued active season that doesn’t end until November 30th. NOAA says there is the potential that this will be among the more active seasons on record.