We may have to consider the old adage that good things come in threes after a trio of catastrophic hurricanes formed over the Atlantic Basin in early September. Hurricane Irma ripped through South Florida; Hurricane Jose caused massive winds and waves north of Puerto Rico; and Hurricane Katia arrived in Mexico soon after the country was hit by a pair of massive earthquakes.
Sadly, we could be in for even more devastation. The Atlantic hurricane season doesn’t end until November 30th and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) believes there are more tropical storms and hurricanes on the way. We’ve studied all the meteorological reports available and have come up with the odds for the wild weather we can expect over the next two and a half months.
This isn’t comforting news to those who live in fear of natural disasters, but hurricanes and earthquakes often occur at the same time in the same region, like we just saw in Mexico. That’s because many areas that experience extreme tropical storms are also located on or near major fault lines. The good news (yes, there is a silver lining on these massive storm clouds) is that hurricanes and cyclones have been found to weaken tremors and lessen the impact of potentially devastating quakes.
One of the downfalls of being such an enormous landmass is that the U.S. is vulnerable to hurricanes that form over the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. We’ve already seen the damage caused by Irma and Harvey in the Atlantic, but fortunately, hurricanes that form over the Pacific Ocean tend to lose their strength as soon as they reach the mainland due in part to ocean-surface temperatures. Also, they’re called “cyclones” or “typhoons,” but we won’t factor in that technicality.
Unlike the lower 48, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands will only be affected by hurricanes forming over the Atlantic Ocean. We’ve already experienced four tropical storms and six hurricanes over the Atlantic since June 1st, and NOAA anticipates there could be as many as three more on the way before the 2017 hurricane season comes to a merciful conclusion.
The U.S. Government has become increasingly involved in hurricane relief over the past 12 years. Washington handed out over $200 billion in aid to those affected by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and followed up with another $56 billion in aid for those devastated by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. President Donald Trump has already made a $7.9 billion request to Congress to assist those affected by Hurricane Harvey, and will likely follow up soon with additional requests as the full extent of the damage is assessed.
The NOAA already has eight names chosen for the remainder of the 2017 Hurricane Season. It’s highly unlikely they’ll need all of them, but don’t be surprised if you hear meteorologists talking about Nate, Ophelia, Philippe, Rina, Sean, Tammy, Vince, and Whitney between now and the end of November.
It’s unlikely Hurricane Maria will hit the U.S. head-on, but the category 2 storm could bring heavy rain and 100 mph winds as it passes along the East Coast over the next week.
The numbers are still rolling in, but we now know that more than ten million people lost power in Florida due to Hurricane Irma. Hurricane Harvey also turned off the lights for 2.4 million people in the Greater Houston Area. Many people in both states are still without electricity and are struggling to rebuild and get on with their lives.
We’ve already seen several Major League Baseball games relocated due to extreme weather, and the NFL was forced to cancel its annual Governor’s Cup on August 31st between the Cowboys and the Texans. Most college football games have been postponed, rather than cancelled, but there is still plenty of games over the next two months and it’s easy to imagine more being shut down due to the whims of Mother Nature.
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