June 1 marks the beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season
COLUMBIA - The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season begins today and is forecast to be an above-normal season for tropical storm activity.
The National Hurricane Center is forecasting 11 to 17 named storms and five to nine hurricanes, two to four of which could be major hurricanes (Category 3 or above).
Dr. Gary Bell from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says this outlook reflects the expectation for a weaker El Nino, above-normal sea surface temperatures and weaker jet stream winds over the formation region.
While the National Hurricane Center makes predictions on the number of named tropical systems, Dr. Bell says they do not make predictions on whether these systems will make landfall due to uncertain atmospheric conditions weeks from now that “steer” the storm.
Last year there were 15 named storms, seven of which were hurricanes. The most notable storm from last year was Hurricane Matthew.
Hurricane Matthew made landfall in South Carolina on October 8. Over its track, Matthew did $2 billion worth of damage in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas, killing 34 in the U.S. and 551 in the Caribbean.
While hurricanes do not pose an immediate threat to Missouri, the remnant energy and moisture from these powerful tropical cyclones can move far inland and produce heavy rainfall which often leads to flash flooding.
Recent notable events where this has happened were in 2012 where the remnants of Hurricane Isaac dumped 2 to 4 inches of rainfall in central Missouri, effectively “busting” the 2012 drought. In June 2015, the remnants of Tropical Storm Bill produced heavy rain over the Lake of the Ozarks where 5 to 7 inches of rainfall was reported and caused major flooding along the Osage river.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.