After recent stormy years, the Atlantic hurricane season has gathered much respect from everyone, especially if you live in an area that’s commonly affected by hurricanes. But, what exactly is the Atlantic hurricane season?
Hurricane seasons are defined as the months in which strong storms are most likely to occur due to favorable weather conditions. The Atlantic hurricane season, specifically, is the timeframe when most tropical cyclones are expected to develop across the northern Atlantic Ocean.
When & Where?
Though in the past the season was defined as a shorter time frame, the Atlantic hurricane season has currently expanded from June 1 through November 30, sharply peaking from late August through September. In reality, a storm can hit anytime, anywhere, given the conditions are present.
These storms are commonly formed in the Atlantic Ocean and travel west towards the Caribbean and the East Coast of the United States, but we’ve also seen devastating storms form in the Gulf of Mexico or within the Caribbean Sea and move East or North.
Globally, the countries most affected by hurricanes are China (its typhoon season lasts all year!), the United States and Cuba. Within the USA, Florida, North Carolina, Louisiana and Texas are the most frequent targets for storms, with Southeast Florida and the Florida Keys leading the list for most likely to be impacted by a storm.
Factors That Influence Hurricane Seasons
According to Business Insider, “hurricanes in the Atlantic are formed by a confluence of global conditions, including ocean temperatures in both the Atlantic and the Pacific (which can affect winds), long-term ocean currents, and atmospheric winds.”
Climatological factors such as the formation of El Niño, climate change, winds in Africa as well as Saharan dust carried across the Atlantic influence the formation of storms.
What Do Hurricane Categories Mean?
The category of a hurricane is determined by sustained wind speed. The following categories are established by the Saffir-Simpson scale:
- 39 to 73 mph (63 to 118 km/h) – Tropical storm
- 74 to 95 mph (119 to 153 km/h) – Category 1 hurricane
- 96 to 110 mph (154 to 177 km/h) – Category 2
- 111 to 129 mph (178 to 208 km/h) – Category 3
- 130 to 156 mph (209 to 251 km/h) – Category 4
- 157 mph or higher (252 km/h or higher) – Category 5
The 2018 hurricane season is just getting started. Check out our blog post next week for predictions on this year’s hurricane season and more details on what you can expect.
To prepare for the 2018 hurricane season, check out our supply checklist. And remember, never underestimate a hurricane and always stay safe!