Weather is really strange.
There are five named storms roaming the Atlantic right now. The biggest, hurricane Earl, is about to scrape the Outer Banks of North Caolina and could even pose a threat to New York City by Friday afternoon.
Tropical storm Fiona looks destined to strike Bermuda. Tropical storm Gaston is foaming up the central Atlantic and a new depression that should get its name by the end of the day is beginning to percolate off Cape Verde in Africa.
And then there’s Danielle, which has been wandering the Atlantic around Bermuda like a drunk hooker. First a tropical storm, then a hurricane, then a tropical storm and now again, a hurricane. Danielle and Fiona have both been kept away from the coast of the US by a Bermuda high that’s been sitting over the northeast, which has brought its own troubles to cities like New York, Boston, and DC.
Earl groped his way along the edge and found a backdoor to the coast. Gaston may have an easier time of it. Soon-to-be tropical depression Hermine will be hot on the heels of Gaston.
The potential for a sort-of perfect storm, where Danielle, Earl, and Fiona combine, is small, but not impossible. A small shift north in the high that’s deflecting Danielle would be required to squirt her westward and Fiona is already beginning to catch up to Earl. The string of low pressure areas…well, imagine three ball bearings on a sheet of rubber. The closer they get, the more likely it is they’ll collide.
Keep in mind, September 1 is the tradition mark of the beginning of the heart of hurricane season. It gets worse before it gets better.
Only once in recorded weather history has the Atlantic gone clear thru the alphabet (there are no Q, X, Y, or Z names) and into Greek letters: 2005, when 28 named storms, and fifteen hurricanes including Katrina and Wilma, formed. The last tropical storm, Zeta, formed on December 30. It was not the latest storm to ever form, by six hours. 1954′s Alice2 (the second hurricane with the name that season) holds that distinction.
Forecasts made before the hurricane season started predicted unusually heavy activity: at least 15 named storms, up to 14 of them hurricanes, with up to seven Cat3 or higher. After the start of the season, predictions were bumped up, and even then, the projectors made it clear they were understating the case.
Fasten your seatbelts, it looks like a bumpy night!