Tuesday, August 2, 2011

It's That Time Of Year Again!

Photo: NOAA National Hurricane Center. Latest track of Tropical Storm Emily.

From June 1st to November 1st it’s hurricane season in Florida.

Up until end of July, hurricanes tend to cross the Atlantic and swerve out to sea, or hit the east coast of Florida or the Carolinas. From August onwards hurricanes tend to go to the Gulf of Mexico.

Hot water is very conducive to hurricane formation. The late summer hurricanes are more powerful since they are fuelled by hot water in the Atlantic and, more particularly, the Gulf of Mexico. By August the Gulf is particularly hot.

As former west coast of Florida residents, August to October are the months when we would watch and wait to see if we would be hit this year. Floridians become weather experts, and we spend a lot of time watching for weather updates.

This map shows the current formation of Hurricane Emily. Florida is in the cone, so now we turn to the National Hurricane Center at NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). There are regular updates every hours, and every Floridian knows exactly when to check in for the latest updates.

I always think of the Caribbean as a buffer zone for storms. Like a pinball machine, where the storm hits as it passes through the Caribbean will determine whether or not it will be a Gulf storm that could hit the west coast of Florida, or an Atlantic storm, hitting the East coast of Florida.

Currently at Tropical Storm status, with current wind speeds at 40 mph (64 kph). Best outlook, Emily does not strengthen and brings much needed rain to the area.

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