Science helps explain deadly hurricane season
First it was Harvey. Then Irma. Now Jose lurks. The hurricane season has arrived with a deadly vengeance, and science can explain a few reasons why.
“Every year around this time, even in quiet years, we get some active systems,” AccuWeather meteorologist Evan Duffey said. “Hurricane season has a pretty defined peak of late September and early October. That’s just the way it is.”
These storms arrived a bit early, Duffey said. He also provided some ideas to help explain this particularly mean season. Two storms alone have killed dozens of Americans and caused more than $250 billion in damage.
Duffey said a drought in northwest Africa in recent years probably played a role in the relatively quiet seasons of the recent past. This year the drought was significantly reduced, he said. Another factor was the lack of El Nino. That phenomenon enhances vertical wind shear, which can suppress hurricane activity.
With no dust from Africa to dry the storms and no winds from El Nino to chop them down, nature and some bad luck did the rest.