Franklin to become 1st hurricane of season

HOUSTON - UPDATE 8/9/17 3:59pm CDT -- Franklin becomes a hurricane as of 5pm EDT (4pm central time.) The hurricane is the first of the Atlantic season. Effects, listed below, remain the same.

Tropical Storm Franklin is no threat to Houston, but projections by the NHC (Nat'l Hurricane Center) would make it the first hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic season. They forecast it to slam Mexico tomorrow. As it churns westward toward Tampico and Veracruz, over the southwest Gulf's Bay of Campeche, it's over 600 miles to our south. We may see swell on our beaches by late this week into the weekend, but no direct effects. Do watch for rip currents at the beaches and don't go in past your waist if you're not Michael Phelps or Kelly Slater.

Franklin is the sixth tropical storm of the season, marking what is already a busier than normal season for this early date. Typically, the Atlantic basin will see twelve named storms during a hurricane season (June 1st to November 30th.) Most activity happens from mid-August thru early-October, so climatologically speaking, we've only scratched the surface! In fact, this may be the busiest season in nearly a decade, says NOAA -- the parent organization to the NHC.

In a report released today, federal forecasters say due to the fact that El Nino is no longer likely to develop, Atlantic hurricanes should prosper.

  • El Nino is a nickname given to the unusual warming of the eastern Pacific equatorial waters. This process happens regularly and when it does, overall trade winds in the Atlantic go up which tears apart hurricanes before they can form.
  • Now that El Nino will not be a factor, lower trade winds are expected, allowing uninhibited tropical development.

While it only takes one landfall in your area to make for a bad season, the idea that there could be many tropical systems raises an eyebrow when one ponders the chances. Rest assured however: a huge year with scores of storms doesn't necessarily guarantee a landfall where you live, but with each new system, one's chances naturally go up.

If you average all the hurricanes to hit Texas since the 1880s and divide by the number of years, Galveston sees a land-falling hurricane once every 8-10 years. Ike hit in 2008 so statistically speaking we're due. Of course statistics don't mean much in the real world since it may be another decade until we're slammed, but it does offer guidance and provides the valuable reminder to be prepared.

Please do have your hurricane kit and plan in ready and place, and visit http://www.khou.com/weather/hurricane-central for a complete guide. This year, we're also offering free video Quick Tips, featuring the meteorologist you watch on KHOU 11, earlier this season!

-Brooks
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