The Atlantic Hurricane seasons starts this week on Wednesday the first of June.
Tropical storm naming is well under way already. ‘Bonnie’ (featured image) has just been downgraded from ‘Tropical Storm’ to ‘Tropical Depression’ and is the first system to make landfall on the USA this year.
D: Tropical Depression – wind speed less than 39 MPH
S: Tropical Storm – wind speed between 39 MPH and 73 MPH
H: Hurricane – wind speed between 74 MPH and 110 MPH
M: Major Hurricane – wind speed greater than 110 MPH
The question arises as to the expected intensity of the 2016 season. Theories link the El Nino (ENSO) to the intensity of the hurricane season. It is thought that higher than average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic follow an El Nino and sea surface temperatures feed energy into tropical storm systems. This has been an El Nino year. Other observations report unusually cold regions of the Atlantic Ocean further north which may mitigate any warming later in the season.
Reports are a little mixed:
Always thought that weather forecasting was a tricky business; it makes weather watching interesting though….