Things may be slow right now in the tropics but for how long ?
August is here and historically this is the beginning of the busiest part of the hurricane season. This time last year we where tracking tropical storm Edouard in the Caribbean. One year ago today five named storms had already formed compared to no storm formation this year. An average of two named storms formed in the last 120 Augusts on record. Since 1900 there has been only three times storms hadn't formed during the month of August. One of those years was 1997; a strong El Nino formed and most likely kept storms away. The 1997 hurricane season was one of the quietest seasons on record with only 7 named storms, 3 hurricanes and 1 major hurricane that year. During El Nino years warmer than normal water temperatures developed along the coast of Peru all the way west into the Pacific equatorial region. These warm waters disrupt global weather patterns. This in turn will cause stronger than normal upper troposphere winds in the tropical Pacific and tropical Atlantic. The intense winds shear off developing storms and hurricanes. The El Nino event of 1997 was exceptionally strong with Pacific water temperatures ten degrees above average. The El Nino of 1982 - 1983 was also strong with Pacific temperatures running six degrees above average. That year was also very quiet with only 5 named storms and 2 hurricanes. Unfortunely for Houston one of those hurricanes was Hurricane Alicia. The lesson here is that although El Nino disrupts the normal hurricane season, all it takes is just one hurricane in your back yard to elevate the threat.