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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.
A new study conducted by Portland State University and the Science Museum of Virginia has revealed that a history of redlining in America has forced African Americans to live in neighborhoods that are much more affected by urban heat waves. As the authors explained, “Vulnerable communities—especially those within urban areas in the United States—are disproportionately […]
Our favorite local National Weather Service forecast office tweeted out this important message on Saturday when a strong line of storms ripped through central Alabama. With extreme and severe weather becoming the new normal, the National Weather Service and local emergency managers’ warnings are more important than ever. Lives are at stake. This forecast office […]
Cities in Alaska and the Southeastern U.S. saw some of the greatest extremes in weather in 2019 — with Utqiagvik, formerly known as Barrow, coming in at 9.3 degrees warmer than average and Bozeman, Montana was 5.3 degrees colder than average, while Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas was the wettest with 25.02 inches more rain than average and of U.S. cities, Tallahassee, Florida, had a 20-inch rainfall deficit.
Why This Matters: There were some big extremes in 2019 — with an impressive list and geographic spread of U.S. cities seeing record-breaking weather. Record warmth for Alaska is one of the biggest stories of the year.