Satellite image of the Atlantic Basin at 11:45 AM CDT 7-14-11
I've received several e-mails over the last week to 10 days from folks along the Gulf Coast that are nervous because the tropics have been so quiet this month. They seem to be afraid (perhaps at some local media suggestion) that the end of the world is coming in August or September because July has been so quiet.
While it's true that the Tropical Atlantic has been rather inactive for the first half of July - a look at the record books indicates that this is actually "normal". In fact, during the 159 year period from 1851 to 2010, only 106 named storms (Tropical Storms or Hurricanes) formed in the Atlantic basin. That works out to less than 0.7 systems per year on average in July. Of course, some years are more or less active than others, but on average it is not uncommon to see zero or only one named system during the month of July in the Atlantic.
With the above in mind, there is no need to panic that "doomsday" is on the horizon because July has been calm thus far. At the same time, however, don't let your guard down as we have yet to enter the traditionally "most active" period of the season. As you can see on the chart below (provided by the NOAA/NHC), Tropical Storm and Hurricane activity typically starts to trend upward during the first part of August, with a peak in early to mid September:
Hopefully if you live along the Gulf or Atlantic coasts you've already prepared for the upcoming season. If not, now would be an excellent time to review Tropical Weather Safety and Preparedness Tips and make sure that you're all ready to go in the event that a system does threaten your area later this season.
One of the safety and preparedness tips in the above linked brochure suggests that you have a battery powered NOAA Weather Radio available as a source of information on an approaching tropical system. As always, I highly recommend visiting RadioShack either at your local store or online to view a full line of NOAA Weather Radios that can help you protect yourself and your family during a host of severe weather situations. The staff there will even help you program your radio if you need assistance!
As I often point out on the blog... it's always better to be prepared in advance and react to a threat in a calm, orderly fashion than to be caught off guard and find yourself in "panic mode" later on...
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