Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Atlantic hurricane season may spark to life next week

Brian K. Sullivan: The Atlantic hurricane season is about to enter its most active phase as conditions for the powerful storms improve across the basin.

Wind shear that can tear budding storms apart has been decreasing, said Dan Kottlowski, an expert senior meteorologist at AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania. At the same time, the potential for more robust tropical waves, the seeds for hurricanes, is increasing.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center is currently tracking such a wave just off the coast of Africa. It has a 20 percent chance of becoming a tropical system in the next five days.

“There are six or seven blobs of thunderstorms marching across Africa right now, some of these will be tropical waves,” Kottlowski said by telephone. “Next week looks very promising for development over the eastern Atlantic.”

The Atlantic season begins on June 1 and the most active portion falls between Aug. 20 and October. Sept. 10 is the statistical peak of the period, according to the center in Miami.

The storms are followed closely by energy companies and commodities traders because they can destroy crops and disrupt natural gas and oil production and processing…

The eyewall of Hurricane Isabel in 2003, from NOAA

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