2019 ended up being quite the active hurricane season within the Atlantic. Hurricane Dorian was one of the slowest-moving and most dangerous hurricanes to cross the Atlantic as a Category 5 storm. In fact, the storm pretty much came to a standstill when it passed over the Bahamas for over a day. This caused severe damage in the Bahamas, leaving many people missing or dead and destroying thousands of homes and properties. The storm had winds that reached 185 miles per house, which was actually the fiercest hurricane on record to hit the Bahamas.
It was only a few weeks later that Lorenzo, which started out as a cyclone, turned into a Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic. The shocking part was that it was the easternmost Category 5 hurricane on record as it headed toward the United Kingdom.
In the end, we saw two Category 5 hurricanes all within one season. In addition, this was only the second time in 12 years that we have seen two Category 5 hurricanes in one season alone.
That is not all, however, that made the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season so unforgettable.
When it came to the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, they hardly saw any activity at all at sea. They only saw two Category 1 hurricanes – Barry and Dorian.
AN EARLY START
In the Atlantic, hurricane season kicked off early when Subtropical Storm Andrea formed near Bermuda. This storm formed before hurricane season officially even began. However, this storm fell apart rather quickly. In total, the Atlantic saw 17 storms that received an actual name this season, with only seven of the 17 lasting for a day or less.
However, it is important to realize that storms can still be quite damaging even if they are not named a hurricane. Take Imelda, for example. Imelda was only determined to be a tropical storm for a few hours but still caused billions of dollars in damages to parts of Texas because of the excessive rainfall and flooding.
One fact remained – September is still known as the peak month of hurricane season. This past September, there were three tropical storms that formed along with four hurricanes.
As of now, the tropics are expected to stay pretty quiet through the rest of the year.
In terms of activity, the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season ended up above average, but only slightly. Despite the number of storms and hurricanes, the hurricane season was nothing too crazy or unexpected.
As for the slow storm season that the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea witnessed, there could be a few reasons as to why this was the case. In both of these waters, the low-to-mid levels of the atmosphere were drier than what is typically seen. And, the two waters had much higher vertical wind shear than what it generally is.
Finally, the big question is – is climate change affecting the storm activity that we saw in the 2019 hurricane season? This is a question we simply cannot determine as of now. In the long haul, we may see some statistics that could attribute this to climate change, but that is not the case right now.