First Day of the Atlantic Hurricane Season and a Tornado Threat for the Mid-Atlantic??!!

Tornado and Wind Threat for the Mid-Atlantic

I want to start with the severe weather threat today for much of NC, VA, WV, MD, PA, and far southern NJ

The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) Day 1 Severe Weather Outlook for Friday, 6/1.
The SPC Day 1 Tornado Threat for Friday, 6/1.

Leaving the technical details out of this discussion, it appears as though the best timing for potential supercells (strong, rotating thunderstorms) with possible tornadoes will be from 5 pm to 10 pm EDT. A 10% probability is something we don’t see in the Mid-Atlantic too often, so I would take this threat seriously. The other threat will be very high winds of 50-65 mph and heavy rainfall. Of course, lightning is dangerous all of the time, so please take cover when you hear thunder.

There is a possibility that the threat could increase as the day wears on, so please be alert to any warnings or advisories this afternoon. I agree with the SPC forecast, but think the threat could be underplayed right now due to expected heating and wind profiles. I will try to update this afternoon is possible.

Welcome to the official start of the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season!

Today marks the first day of the hurricane season, although the season has had an early start with Alberto and Beryl making their debut prior to 6/1. The last time this happened was in 1908 when both early season storms were designated hurricanes. Although observations back then were sparse at best, the season ended with a total of 10 storms.

The 1908 Atlantic Hurricane Season courtesy of Unisys Weather.

Considering the rapid start to this hurricane season, many people have asked me if this is a sign of an active season. The best answer I can give right now is that it is inconclusive. Many forecasters and forecast models show a weak El Nino developing and we are currently in neutral conditions in the East Pacific. I don’t see a clear signal of an impending El Nino, but even a weak one does not necessarily mean a quiet season. I think the main threat this year will be in-close development. . .similar to what we have seen already. If I was to give a forecast for total number of storms, I would go with about 13 storms, 7 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes.

Below is a synopsis of the various seasonal forecasts for the Atlantic from different companies or government agencies (courtesy of Scott Prosise of the Ocean Prediction Center):

The NWS tropical forecast for 2012:
A 70% chance of:
•  9-15 Named Storms, 
•  4-8 Hurricanes 
•  1-3 Major Hurricanes

The following additional forecast are for “entertainment purposes”

Accu-WX:           12 Tropical Storms,  5 hurricanes and 2 major Hurricanes
Dr. Grey (CSU):  10 named storms,  4 hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes  ACE 70
UKMET:         2  tropical cyclones with a 70% chance of the number being between 7 and 13.  ACE  90
WeatherBELL:     9-12 names storms, 4-6 hurricanes, Major hurricanes 2-3. ACE 75-95
Weather Channel:  11 named storms,  6 hurricanes ,  2 major hurricanes
WSI:             11 names storms, 6 hurricanes, 2 major hurricanes

I am going a bit higher than most of these forecasts and I am basing this on the El Nino never truly showing itself until later if at all. Also, these forecasts do not include the first two storms we have seen as they start on 6/1 and end on 11/30.

I will update later if possible.

Be safe and have a great day!

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