That Time of Year Again: Hurricane Season is Here

June 1 marks the official start of hurricane season. And, as if on cue, the National Hurricane Center issued warnings about possible tropical storm formation in the Bay of Campeche. That’s the area between the Mexican mainland and the Yucatan peninsula. It is not forecast to move toward the Houston area. Northeastern Mexico and the Rio Grande Valley, however, should keep a close eye on this one.

This area of low pressure had been centered over land in Central America. High pressure over the central US blocked it from moving north. But now that our high pressure system is moving east, it is allowing the low to move north. As it moves out over water in the Bay of Campeche, it could strengthen. The NHC gives it a 50% chance of turning into a named storm in the next five days. Regardless of formation, it’s going to produce a lot of heavy rain for our friends to the south.

Hurricane Preparedness and Education

There’s no reason to panic over this. But its timing on the first day of hurricane season should remind us all about hurricane preparedness.

One of the first things I would do: Bookmark the National Hurricane Center website (NHC). It is updated several times per day, and gives you the most current information available. It also presents information in a wide variety of formats: for mobile and desktop platforms, maps, text, satellite images, aircraft reconnaissance, etc. NHC is the definitive source for this kind of information.

It also contains links to other weather-related web sites, such as the National Weather Service and NOAA.

Finally, it contains a wealth of information about hurricane preparedness and educational pages that can help you understand these storms better.

Educational resources available on the NHC website. You can drill down within each of these.

Meaning of “Invest” in Weather Context

Exploring the NHC glossary may answer questions that have had you scratching your head for years. For instance, everyone talks about the differences between tropical depressions, tropical storms and hurricanes. But what is an “invest”? You see that all the time.

Invest is shorthand for “investigative area.” It’s simply a weather system for which the NHC wants to start collecting data or running models on. Once a system has been designated as an invest, a number of government and academic web sites initiate data collection and processing.

Designation of a system as an invest does NOT correspond to any particular likelihood of development of the system into a tropical cyclone.

Peak of Hurricane Season

Hurricane season lasts from June 1 through November 30 in this area. Even though today marks the start of hurricane season, the peak isn’t for several months. September 11th is the statistical peak. Tropics heat up the most throughout August and September. Hurricane Harvey lasted from August 25 through 30 – in the middle of that window.

So start preparing now.

Posted by Bob Rehak on June 1, 2019

641 Days after Hurricane Harvey