"Talking the Tropics With Mike" will resume daily updates June 1st, 2013 - the start of the next hurricane season. Click ** here ** to go to the "Buresh Blog".
The 2012 hurrricane season will be remembered for:
* the high number
* an early, active start
Original seasonal forecasts underestimated the number of storms primarily due to the expectation of an El Nino in the equatorial Pacific which never fully materialized. The late May forecasts:
tropical storms hurricanes "Major" hurricanes (Cat. 3+)
Colorado St. (Gray/Klotzbach) 13 5 2
NOAA 9-15 4-8 1-3
Avg. 12 7 2
2012 19 10 1
While active, there have been 10 other busier seasons than 2012 in the last 30 years. Click here for an interesting animation from NASA of the season's tropical cyclone rainfall across the U.S., a new NASA animation using data from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite known as TRMM shows rainfall from tropical cyclones in the western Atlantic, as measured from space. Click here for more details. The NASA map below is a single image of the '12 tropical cyclone-related rainfall.
For the First Coast, the 2012 season will be most remembered for early development:
* "Beryl" formed in late May & hit the First Coast making lanfall near Jax Beach a bit after midnight on Memorial Day -- the first May tropical cyclone to ever make landfall on the First Coast. The early season storm was initially subtropical (25th) but was estimated to become fully tropical within 24 hours. Rain was heavy but months of drought leading up to landfall helped rivers & larger streams handle the torrential rain. There still was some flooding as well as tree damage though total damage was less than a million dollars. Click here for photos from "Beryl". Forecast models generally did a good job handling "Beryl" & there was plenty of warning prior to the holiday weekend. Other tidbits:
From what I've been able to dig up, it looks like 2012 is the first year since 1887 that 2 tropical storms have formed in the month of May in the same year in the Atlantic Basin.
Interesting sidenote -- 2 hurricanes formed in 1908 -- May 24th & also in March(!). According to "Weather Underground"....26 tropical cyclones formed in the Atlantic Basin before the official start of the season since 1851. Only 5 of those storms managed to become hurricanes - 1 "major" -- "Able" & only 1 of the hurricanes affected the U.S. -- May 24th, 1908 on the Outer Banks of N. Carolina.
May 31, 2008: Tropical Storm Arthur (formed very near midnight June 1st)
May 6, 2007: Subtropical Storm Andrea
April 18, 2003: Tropical Storm Ana
April 21, 1992: Subtropical Storm 1
May 6, 1981: Tropical Storm Arlene
January 18, 1978: Subtropical Storm 1
May 21, 1976: Subtropical Storm 1
May 23, 1972: Subtropical Storm Alpha
May 17, 1970: Hurricane Alma (Category 1)
May 28, 1959: Tropical Storm Arlene
February 2, 1953: Tropical Storm Alice
May 25, 1952: Tropical Storm 1
May 15, 1951: Hurricane Able (Category 3)
May 22, 1948: Tropical Storm 1
May 19, 1940: Tropical Storm 1
May 27, 1934: Tropical Storm 1
May 14, 1933: Tropical Storm 1
May 5, 1932: Tropical Storm 1
May 13, 1916: Tropical Storm 1
May 24, 1908: Hurricane 2 (Category 1)
March 6, 1908: Hurricane 1 (Category 2)
May 27, 1890: Tropical Storm 1
May 16, 1889: Hurricane 1 (Category 1)
May 17, 1887: Tropical Storm 2
May 15, 1887: Tropical Storm 1
May 30, 1865: Tropical Storm 1
* "Beryl" sort of set the table for "Debby" several weeks later, June 23-27. Saturated soil combined with a deluge of rain from "Debby" caused widespread & serious flooding across the First Coast. There was very little wind damage, but the flooding caused more than 300 million dollars worth of damage. Daily record rainfall was set at JIA on the 25th - 7.36" - also an all-time June 24 hour total beating the record of 6.07" on June 13th, 2004. Another daily record rainfall occurred on the 26th - 5.20". The 4-day total for JIA was 13.94" but some places received as much as 15-20" of rain! The 2-day totoal on the 25th & 26th of 12.56" was a record for the highest 2-day total (going back to 1871) topping the old record of 12.11" Sept. 9-10, 1908. Click here for "Debby" photos. Forecast models struggled a bit with "Debby", especially the European model which kept taking the storm west near the Gulf Coast vs. east into Fl. which ended up happening, of course. The GFS model was better in that respect.
"Isaac" formed in late Aug. & made landfall just west of New Orleans as a Cat. 1 hurricane. Flooding & a few tornadoes were the big stories with "Isaac" from Louisiana to the Fl. Panhandle. Forecast models were initially too far east taking the storm throught the Eastern Gulf. The European was the first to indicate a more west path but ended up too far west while the GFS eventually corrected & was pretty accurate as far as 3-4 days in advance of landfall. Total damage was estimated at 2.3 billion dollars.
Nationally & internationally, the '12 storm that will go down in history (infamy) will be "Sandy". The hurricane was a classic late season storm that formed in the Caribbean then moved almost due north to slightly northeast. Jamaica, Eastern Cuba, HIspaniola & the Bahamas took a hard hit from a high end Cat. 2 hurricane (that might be upgraded to Cat. 3 in the post storm analysis while hitting Cuba). "Sandy" stayed hundreds of miles east of Jax but did produce rip currents & beach erosion. "Sandy" then became infamous as it moved northward & interacted with a strong upper level trough approaching from the west. The two joined forces to turn "Sandy" into the so-called Superstorm. Landfall was near Atlantic City & the storm surge & flooding was disastrous for New Jersey, Pennsylania, New York & Connecticut.
Early indications are that "Sandy" could down as the 2nd costliest hurricane in U.S. history -- ~65.6 billion dollars -- with more than 250 people killed from the Caribbean to Canada. Forecast models generally did an excellent job with "Sandy". The GFS model was very good with initial development in the Caribbean while the European excelled later in the storm's life cycle indicating a historic hit on the Mid Atlantic & Northeast which the GFS eventually came around to as well. Click here to see "Sandy" photos.....as well as here.