Mark Powell of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says tropical storms this year have had a tough time developing: "They haven’t really been able to get their act together because there tends to be too much wind shear for them to really get going."
Tallahassee, Florida - We're halfway home to the end of hurricane season and it has been an unusually quiet season so far.
September 10th marks the traditional halfway point for the hurricane season and we have not had a single hurricane yet, although that may change later Tuesday if Tropical Storm Humberto gathers strength to become a hurricane.
Atmospheric Scientist Mark Powell with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says sea surface temperatures are plenty hot to support the formation of hurricanes.
But Powell says developing storms have been hindered by large amounts of dry air and dust coming off the coast of Africa.
"When we've had these tropical storms, they haven't really been able to get their act together because there tends to be too much wind shear for them to really get going. That dry air and dust stabilizes the atmosphere and it really inhibits the convection or the clouds and thunderstorms that you need to get a tropical cyclone started."
Powell says a persistent weather pattern has created a lot of rain for us this summer. But that pattern's jet stream has produced enough wind shear to prevent tropical storms from developing into hurricanes.
On Tuesday, we tied for the second latest date in the formation of the first hurricane of the season.
Wednesday marks the latest date in the satellite era for a first hurricane of the season. Hurricane Gustav did not form until the morning of September 11 in 2002.
But Powell offers a reminder that we still have a lot of time before the end of hurricane season. He says statistics show half of the storms every year develop after September 20.
"We still have a lot of the season to go, especially for folks up in North Florida. Keep in mind we had Hurricane Kate back in late November 1985. So we've got a ways to go before we're out of this season."