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Why This Matters: Even one full-strength storm could have devastating impacts, such as Hurricanes Florence and Michael did last year. And before hurricane season began, we already saw the first named storm, and there is a second one brewing now in the Gulf of Mexico that could bring more heavy rains and flooding to the lower Mississippi River, which is already dangerously high, with large areas flooded. It could be a trifecta, according to the AccuWeather forecasters, with a surge of water moving downstream along the Mississippi River that could reach the lower part of the waterway at the same time as high levels of water from the Arkansas River join in, along with the heavy rainfall from the tropical disturbance late this week and this weekend. The two prior hurricane seasons were particularly destructive. According to The Washington Post, the 2018 hurricane season cost the nation $50 billion in damages and 2017 produced three of the five costliest hurricanes on record: Harvey, Maria, and Irma.
An ongoing El Niño is expected to persist and would ordinarily suppress the intensity of the Atlantic hurricane season.
However, countering the El Niño is the expected combination of warmer-than-average sea-surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Seas, and an enhanced west African monsoon, both of which favor increased hurricane activity.
Getting An Upgrade: In years past, there has been much made of the American versus the European model when it comes to storm tracking and severity. This year, the National Weather Service is upgrading its Global Forecast System (GFS) weather model – often called the American model – early in the 2019 hurricane season — which is the first major upgrade to the model in almost 40 years, and will improve tropical cyclone track and intensity forecasts.
How To Prepare Now: Ask yourself these questions: Do you have cash on hand? Do you have adequate insurance, including flood insurance? Does your family have communication and evacuation plans?NOAA advises that you make sure to heed any warnings issued by local officials, and evacuate when the government says you should.
Mega-storms caused by atmospheric rivers were once thought to be once-in-a-millennia occurrences, but atmospheric rivers are flooding California more frequently due to the warming atmosphere. The latest mega-storm may put a dent in the mega-drought, but experts say California may be trapped in a vicious wet/dry cycle. It may not be time for Californians to build an ark just yet, but climate-resilient infrastructure would […]
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer After a record-breaking drought, much of the West and Southwest has been hoping for a winter of rain. But with scientists predicting a second consecutive winter with La Niña conditions, the dry spell may be prolonged. La Niña is a climate pattern that tends to produce droughts in the […]
By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor As California’s summer fire season comes to a close, autumn’s Santa Ana winds have intensified a fast-moving wildfire now terrorizing Santa Barbara County. The Alisal fire began Monday afternoon. Since then, it has engulfed 16,801 acres and is only 5% contained, according to CalFire. As a result, a portion […]
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