As residents along the Louisiana coast surveyed the damage caused after Hurricane Ida landed and a day after Tropical Storm Julian formed and quickly downgraded, Tropical Storm Kate formed in the Atlantic Ocean on Monday and was named 11th named storm a busy hurricane season.
The National Hurricane Center said Tropical Storm Kate would move across the open waters of the central Atlantic. There were no coastguards or warnings for the storm.
The center said Monday afternoon that significant strengthening “does not seem likely at this time” and that models were suggesting that Kate “could be absorbed by a larger extra-tropical low that is expected to form and deepen near Atlantic Canada.”
It has been dizzying weeks for weather forecasters monitoring multiple named storms that formed in rapid succession in the Atlantic, bringing stormy weather, flooding, and noxious winds to parts of the United States and the Caribbean.
In addition to Ida and Julian, Tropical Storm Fred hit the Florida Panhandle in the past few weeks, Hurricane Grace hit Haiti and Mexico, and Tropical Storm Henri cut power and brought record rainfall to the northeastern United States.
The rapid succession of named storms makes it seem like the Atlantic is kicking them up like a fast-paced assembly line, but their formation coincides with the height of the hurricane season.
Between August and October, 78 percent of tropical storms, 87 percent of small hurricanes and 96 percent of large hurricanes occur, said Dennis Feltgen, a meteorologist and spokesman for the National Hurricane Center. The maximum activity occurs in early to mid-September, he said.
Robert Henson, an independent meteorologist and journalist for Yale Climate Connections, said of the remaining time in the season, “I wouldn’t expect to be as busy every week as it was last week.”
Mr Henson said the appearance of Kate on Monday marked the sixth earliest occurrence of a named storm starting with the letter K in the 55 years that satellites have been used. Last year was the earliest when Kyle was founded on Aug. 14, he said.
The warm sea water, common at this time of year, heats up activity in the Atlantic, but the storms are also amplified by two other influences: the Madden-Julian Oscillation, a collection of thunderstorms that orbit the equator in a semi-regular pattern, and help promote storms, and a convectively coupled Kelvin wave, a giant momentum moving through the stratosphere from west to east.
Aug. 30, 2021, 6:09 p.m. ET
When these forces overlap, as they are now, conditions are even more favorable for storms to form, Henson said.
As busy as last season and as busy as this was, Mr. Henson noted that there was a 12 year “hurricane drought” from 2005 to 2017 in which not a single major hurricane hit the United States.
There were 30 named storms last year, including six major hurricanes. Meteorologists reached the end of the alphabet for the second time and switched to Greek letters.
It was the most frequently cited storms, surpassing the 28 from 2005, and the second highest number of hurricanes on the record.
The links between hurricanes and climate change are becoming more and more apparent. A warming planet can expect stronger hurricanes and higher incidence of the strongest storms over time – although the total number of storms could decrease as factors such as stronger wind shear could prevent weaker storms from forming.
Hurricanes also get wetter because of more water vapor in the warmer atmosphere; Scientists have suggested that storms like Hurricane Harvey produced much more rain in 2017 than they would without the human impact on the climate. In addition, rising sea levels contribute to higher storm surges – the most destructive element of tropical cyclones.
A major United Nations climate report published in August warned that nations had delayed reducing their fossil fuel emissions for so long that they could not stop the increase in global warming over the next 30 years, leading to more frequent life-threatening heat waves and severe ones Droughts. Tropical cyclones have likely increased in intensity over the past 40 years, the report says, a shift that cannot be explained by natural variability alone.
Ana became the first named storm of the season on May 23, the seventh year in a row that a named storm developed in the Atlantic prior to the official start of the season on June 1.
In May, scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast there would be 13 to 20 named storms this year, including six to 10 hurricanes and three to five major category 3 or higher hurricanes in the Atlantic. In a mid-season forecast update in early August, they continued to warn that this year’s hurricane season will be above average, pointing to a busy end of the season.
Matthew Rosencrans of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said an updated forecast suggested there would be 15 to 21 named storms, including seven to 10 hurricanes, by the end of the season on Nov. 30. Kate is the 11th named storm of 2021.
Christopher Mele contributed to the coverage.