June has arrived, which means the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season is officially underway.
We’ve already had our first named storm of the season (Ana) and could have our second in short order. With a ramped-up Madden-Julian Oscillation and warm sea surface temperatures, signs point to early development in the Caribbean or even the Gulf of Mexico. Dr. Jeff Masters expands on that thought:
There are indications that the second tropical depression of the year has a chance to form late this week in the waters near South Florida or the Bahama Islands on Friday or Saturday. We have warmer than average SSTs in these waters, and the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) is expected to be active in the Western Hemisphere late this week, and both of these factors argue for higher than usual odds of an early June tropical depression forming in the Atlantic. Over the past few days, the GFS model has been consistently advertising the possibility that an area of low pressure capable of developing into a tropical depression will form in this region, although the European model (so far) has not gone along with this idea. If we do get something developing, it would potentially be a heavy rain threat for South Florida and the Northern Bahamas over the weekend, but then move northeastwards out to sea without troubling any more land areas.
Most forecasters and tropical weather experts are calling for a quiet hurricane season in the Atlantic basin, which lines up nicely with a moderate-to-strong El Nino. The upper level wind patterns over the Atlantic basin during an El Nino summer tend to prohibit storm development.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t see a quick start to the hurricane season. In fact, models are currently showing some tropical mischief in the Gulf of Mexico during the June 13-20 timeframe. They aren’t showing an organized tropical depression — not yet, anyway. But they are showing some general storminess that could result in a lot of rain.
In fact, the GFS is currently showing 8 inches of rain for the central Gulf Coast area for that week . . . which figures, since I’ll be vacationing in Panama City Beach at that time.