John Willoughby, ECB Publishing, Inc.
When Hurricane Irma plowed through the Caribbean Islands and up the west coast of Florida's peninsula this time last year, thousands were left without power, food and some were even left dead. Hurricane Maria followed and didn't help the progress that the Caribbean Islands had
made during the massive clean-up of Irma's aftermath. With the peak of the 2018 hurricane season here and multiple storms menacingly plowing toward land in the Atlantic Ocean, it may be time to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
Currently, there are three named storms swirling in the Atlantic basin. Earlier in the year, the Colorado State University (CSU) Tropical Meteorology Project forecasted 14 named storms (seven hurricanes, three major hurricanes) to form during the 2018 season. The CSU report also noted that the probability of a major hurricane making landfall this season is 63 percent for the entire United State coastline; 39 percent for the East Coast, including the Florida Peninsula; and 38 percent for the Gulf Coast, stretching from Brownsville, Tx. to the Florida Panhandle
Hurricane Florence, which is currently the oldest and strongest storm in the ocean, intensified rapidly from a Category 2 to a massive Category 4 Hurricane within hours on Monday, Sept. 10, with winds reaching 130 mph. Hurricane Florence is currently less 950 miles east-southeast of Cape Fear, N.C.
Hurricane Florence is currently forecasted to make landfall in between North Carolina and South Carolina, with a northwest turn expected to occur Wednesday night, Sept. 12, or Thursday, Sept. 13. Parts of the east coast of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina are most likely expected to feel tropical-storm-force winds between Thursday, Sept. 13, at 8 a.m. and Thursday, Sept. 13, at 8 p.m.
On Sept. 11, the 8 a.m. public advisory stated that aircraft found that Florence had weakened slightly but was expected to re-strengthen.
According to NOAA, there is an increased risk of life-threatening impacts from Florence, including storm surge at the coast, freshwater flooding from a prolonged and exceptionally heavy rainfall event inland, and damaging hurricane-force winds. Large swells affecting Bermuda and portions of the east coast are expected which will include life-threatening surf and rip currents. A storm surge watch and hurricane watch has been issued for parts of North Carolina and South Carolina.
Moving west-northwest at 15 mph, Hurricane Florence was located as a potential tropical cyclone by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Hurricane Center on Friday, Aug. 30, 425 miles east-southeast of the Southernmost Cabo Verde Islands, with maximum sustained winds of approximately 30 mph.
Hurricane Helene, which is less than 620 miles west of the southernmost Cabo Verde Islands, strengthened to a Category 2 Hurricane on Monday, Sept. 10 and is presently moving at 14 mph west-northwest, with sustained winds reaching 110 mph. However, according to NOAA, a turn toward the northwest and then toward the north-northwest are expected on Wednesday, Sept. 12 and Thursday, Sept. 13.
As of 5 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 11, the NOAA National Hurricane Center advised that Tropical Storm Isaac is remaining strong over the Central Tropical Atlantic, moving west at 14 mph. Maximum sustained winds are around 70, according to the advisory.
Tropical Storm Issac, as of Tuesday, Sept. 11, is 880 miles east of the Lesser Antilles and is expected to bring torrential rainfall. Isaac was located by the National Hurricane Center as a tropical depression over the eastern Atlantic on Friday, Sept. 7. The depression was located approximately 1,755 miles east of the Windward Islands.
Multiple hurricanes in the Atlantic basin is not a new sight. On Sept. 10-12, 1970, five tropical cyclones were recorded in the Atlantic Basin simultaneously.
Despite the three hurricanes swirling in the Atlantic, the NOAA is paying close attention to two more potential developments which have a 50 percent chance of developing further within the next five days. Disturbance one, according to NOAA, is showing signs of organization and upper-level winds are forecast to become more conducive for development on Wednesday, Sept. 12, when the system moves over the southern portion of the Gulf of Mexico.
Disturbance two in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean is forecast to form into a tropical or subtropical depression by the end of the week. There is currently a 50 percent possibility of formation within the next five days.
Throughout the Hurricane season, which lasts from June 1 to Nov. 30, anything can happen. That's why it's important to stay up-to-date with what's happening in the Atlantic and Gulf Coast. Cdc.gov provides tips on how to be prepared and what you should do in the case of an emergency.