Time to watch tropical waves

August Formation Points (1851 to 2013)
August Formation Points (1851 to 2013)

MIAMI – The tropics in the Atlantic are pretty quiet at the moment, although tropical waves continue to move off the west coast of Africa every three to four days.

We are getting closer to the beginning of what is considered to be the most active part of the Atlantic hurricane season that typically extends from mid-August to late October.  We usually start seeing a lot more activity originating over the deep tropical Atlantic during August, as indicated in the above graphic.  Nearly all of the developments in this area are from tropical waves.  This year's Hurricane Bertha is an example of such a development during the first week of August.

The historical data from the National Hurricane Center shows that 383 tropical storms have formed in the month of August since 1851.  Some tropical storms were obviously missed prior to improvements in technology such as routine satellite coverage.  The NHC records show an average of 3.3 tropical storms of which 1.6 were hurricanes during the month of August for the period 1981-2010 when observations were plentiful.

Although most seasonal forecasts are calling for a high likelihood of a somewhat below average hurricane season, it makes good sense to ensure your hurricane plan is updated and ready to implement before we get into the heart of the season.  A hurricane over our community is always a rare event, but it is not wise to wait for the last moment to prepare.