11:15 AM | No threat at this time, but east coast has to stay on guard for possible hurricane impact; next few weeks will be quite active
While there is no threat at this time, there are reasons to believe that the east coast is vulnerable to an impact by a hurricane during this tropical season or any of the next few. In many ways, the current large-scale weather pattern resembles the decade of the 1950’s when, for example, there were colder-than-normal sea surface temperatures in the northern Pacific Ocean, warmer-than-normal temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean, and a widespread US drought. One of the other notable weather characteristics of the 1950’s was that the east coast was actually affected quite frequently by hurricanes (e.g., Hazel and Carol in 1954; Connie and Diane in 1955). In fact, seven major hurricanes impacted the east coast of the U.S. between 1954 and 1960. Hurricane Irene, which impacted much of the east coast late last August, may have been a warning that a repeat of the 1950’s pattern has begun. We’ll continue to monitor the situation for the remainder of this tropical season which climatologically should ramp up significantly over the next few weeks towards a peak around the middle of September. One final note, thankfully, there has not been a direct hit in the US by a major hurricane (ie category 3 or higher) since October of 2005 (Wilma), and that is a record amount of time between such hits.