WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - When Tropical Storm Andrea formed in early June, it kicked off what the National Hurricane Center had predicted to be a busy season.
But as dawn broke Tuesday morning, the peak day of the 2013 Atlantic season, there have been no hurricanes. It was just a typical late summer day at Wrightsville Beach, people enjoying the beach, others trying their luck along the docks and on boats traveling along the ICW and Banks Channel.
It has also been a quiet summer for Mark Sudduth, founder of Wilmington based Hurricane Track. A normal summer for Sudduth would be on the road, getting to coastal areas before the systems made landfall, tracking the storms and providing on-site weather data thru his website.
Sudduth says forecasters believe they know what has caused the decrease in the amount of tropical activity this season, and believes things could soon be changing for the worse.
"Up in the atmosphere, about 18 to 20 thousand feet is this layer of warmer, drier air and that has put a cap on the ability of the atmosphere to create upward motion and having the lack of what is needed to cause instability, but that is also getting ready to change, so the later we go in the season, it just took longer to preheat the oven, so to speak," explained Sudduth.
Plus weather charts indicate that the ocean water temperature has risen to above normal levels in this path from the coast of Africa, across the Atlantic, to the United States, especially in the south Atlantic. Warm weather is a prime component in tropical systems.
Experts say it would be a mistake to believe that the second half of the season would resemble the first half, especially after the devastation Hurricane Hazel caused to the United States in mid-October, 1954.
"I just can't see how we can get out of this season, considering how warm the Atlantic Ocean is, compared to normal, without someone getting a hurricane landfall somewhere along the US coast," said Sudduth.
And in case you were wondering, in an average season, the first hurricane usually shows up by August 1t, followed by a second hurricane on August 2t and the first major hurricane by September 4. One of the latest storms in the season to hit North Carolina was on Halloween weekend, 1899, which took the same path that Hazel followed 55 years later.
Copyright 2013 WECT. All rights reserved.
322 Shipyard Boulevard