Environment

First Storm of the Season? NOT

The IntersectionBy Chris MooneyMay 30, 2006 5:26 PM

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Just read the following in the Washington Times from an April 28 article:

With the official start of hurricane season days away, meteorologists are unanimous that the 2006 tropical storm season, which runs from June 1 through November, is likely to be a doozy. The first tropical storm of this season showered light rain yesterday on Acapulco, a Mexican Pacific resort, but forecasters said the weather could worsen. Tropical storm Aletta was stalled 135 miles from Acapulco, with maximum winds of 45 mph, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami, which said the storm could move toward land today.

Now, what's wrong with this? Well, as the National Hurricane Center makes clear, there have not been any storms yet in the Atlantic. Tropical Storm Aletta formed in the Eastern Pacific (west of Mexico), which is a different basin, and whose season begins on May 15 of the year, not June 1 as is the case with the Atlantic. Am I nitpicking over this? Well, not really. After all, it would have been noteworthy if Aletta had been an Atlantic storm forming this early in the year. One of the arguments about global warming's influence on hurricanes is that it may be lengthening the average storm season on both ends. No one storm can prove a trend of this kind, but an Atlantic storm this early certainly would have been suggestive. As it is, however, it doesn't seem like we're going to be seeing any Atlantic storms before June 1 at this point...or at any rate, they have about a day to go....

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