Pat Shingleton: "A Stretch..."
Earlier this week, the initial projections for Hurricane Joaquin had the storm scraping the eastern coast of the United States. A needed and welcome adjustment is advancing the storm out of the Bahamas and into the Central Atlantic. Wet weather will linger all weekend from the Carolinas to New England. The Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society reports that researchers from the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies analyzed the absence of major land-falling hurricanes in the United States. They noted that it has been nine years since a Category 3 or stronger hurricane had reached the United States. The last was Hurricane Wilma in 2005. Scientists examined the probabilities of this hurricane gap by initiating a computer model that included two episodes of climate variation that influence storm formation. The team conducted 1,000 simulations of tropical cyclones for the years 1950 through 2012 to estimate the statistical properties of periods without hurricane events. The models showed that a nine-year hurricane drought occurs every 177 years and the average odds of at least one U.S. land falling hurricane is 0.39, just above a one-in-three chance. Also disclosed was the discovery that the nine-year hurricane void was the longest since record-keeping began in 1851, surpassing a gap from 1861 through 1868.