Hurricane impact on Michigan - WNEM TV 5

Hurricane impact on Michigan

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Hurricane Isabel from space in 2003 Hurricane Isabel from space in 2003

As the weather heats up and we ditch the jeans for the shorts, the Atlantic is also heating up.

Hurricane season is just around the corner and while we aren’t coastal, hurricanes do impact our weather more than you might think.

Of course we don’t see the destruction and chaos of those that receive direct hits from hurricanes, but Michigan does receive the “left overs” so-to-speak.

In 2015 Michigan saw a large amount of rain from the remnants of Hurricane Patricia. And in 2012 when Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New England, Michigan saw strong gusty winds that knocked out power, along with lakeshore flooding and a few days of heavy rain. 

Hurricanes from the Atlantic routinely have an effect on Michigan. Hurricane Odile in 2014, Hurricane Norbert in 2010, the list goes on. We usually don’t see much more than rain, but if they happen to hit farther up the east coast (like Sandy) we can sometimes see damaging effects.

Hurricane season begins June 1 and lasts through November 30. Colorado State University just released their predictions for this year’s season. They predict there will be 13 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher according to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale).  If these predictions pan out this season will be normal. An average hurricane season will see 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.

Many factor go into how a hurricane season will pan out. How many storms make landfall, and how many never reach the U.S. is dependent on a number of different factors. But one interesting factor this season will be the El Nino to La Nina transfer.

A study from Colorado State University found that during a La Nina period hurricanes have a better chance at surviving the trip across the Caribbean than hurricanes during an El Nino period. During El Nino, storms in the Atlantic encounter dry air effectively shutting off an essential ingredient needed for storms to form. During La Nina the opposite occurs.  That means later in the season as El Nino fades and La Nina strengthens more hurricanes may make the trip and make landfall in the U.S. This, of course, is not a guarantee.

As for Michigan this doesn’t mean it will be rainier than normal this summer at all. Simply just a look at the upcoming hurricane season that begins next month.

For now just enjoy the sunshine and 70s! 

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