Ready or not, Hurricane Season 2006 is here! What will this year have in store? Some fear mongers from AccuWeather (*cough* Bastardi *cough*) want nothing more than media attention and will pray on your fear to get it. (I can say that. Many thanks to State of Connecticut for extending journalism protections to the Internet.) Insurance companies, especially those based overseas and free of domestic political pressure, are cancelling policies up and down the East Coast as they are finally recognizing that hurricane losses are exceeding official government estimates. Did I mention that the National Weather Service is part of the Executive Branch?
This year promisses to be another active one. Last year a La Nina pattern provide strong trade winds that carried several hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico. This year a lack of a significant La Nina should cause those same storms to curve into the East Coast. I would not want to own property on the Outer Banks this year. Already sea surface temperatures are warm enough to support tropical activity across most of the Western Atlantic.
However, that warm water is only deep enough to support real hurricane activity in the North Caribbean. Below is a map of current Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential.
Many of you are concerned about the Gulf of Mexico. Right now the Loop Current is clearly evident extending into the Gulf. However, the surface waters as a whole will not support a significant hurricane... yet.
What is out there right now? Well, the Atlantic is very quite. However, there is a lot of convection in the Eastern Pacific. While it may be a bit before anything gets cooking in the Atlantic, I actually expect there to soon be some more action in the Pacific.
For those of you with suggestions for this hurricane season, check out the forums. There is also a preview of our new hurricane model track maps. That product is not yet officially operational, but I am able to generate the plots on demand and hope to have them soon posting automatically. At this point what I would really appreciate is feedback on what you want from them.