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IQ Weather Extra: Summer Storm Season Transitions

During the summer months, storm patterns and tracks shift farther northward. By mid-summer, the threat for severe storms weakens and shifts to the central and northern plains states and the upper Midwest.

The impact of the longer duration of daylight is to warm the atmosphere enough to cause the jet stream pattern northward. As you may recall from our IQ Weather lessons, the jet stream is a main ingredient for strong storm formation.

When the jet stream drifts farther north and weakens during the summer months, severe weather becomes less frequent.

As the end of summer approaches, and the overall atmosphere begins to cool, the jet stream will typically begin to drift back southward slowly. That sets up a second min-severe weather season in the autumn.

Summertime is also the early part of the hurricane season!  As of today, we have had 5 named storms so far. The peak of hurricane season is in September, and hurricane season does not end until the last day of November. As you have learned, it takes a long time for water to cool off, and the warm sea water is what drives tropical storm and hurricane development.

Take a look at the location of the warmer sea water in 2020.

Last year was a very active year for hurricanes, with a total of 30 named storms. Compare the tracks in the graph below, with the location of the warmer water in the graphic above. Can you see the connection between the location of the warm water and the more frequent tracks of the hurricane? It’s pretty clear!

Now, look at the latest graphic depicting the location of the warmer sea water this year (below)? Can you make a guess about where the hurricane tracks will be this season?  Notice that the Gulf of Mexico is cooler this year than last.  That may help to reduce the number of named storms in that area this season.

The best way to track tropical weather and to monitor your threat for being impacted by hurricanes is by using the web page for the Tropical Prediction Center. There, you can find the latest forecast for tropical storm development, along with updates on any active tropical storms or hurricanes! 

Summer is an active time of year for our coastal residents, and It’s important for anyone living on, or near the coast, to keep track of the tropics during hurricane season!

IQ Weather, homeschool weather class, science at home, middle school science, tropical storms, storm season


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