Katia is the11th named storm this year, and comes a full twelve days BEFORE the halfway point of the Atlantic hurricane season.
Climatologically, September 10 marks the halfway point. A typical hurricane season has just 10 – 11 named storms, so we’ve already had a full seasons worth of storms before reaching the halfway point!
At this rate, 2011 would see 25 named storms (if current pace keeps up) making it the 2nd busiest season on record, behind 2005. But I, Kirk Mellish, doubt that this pace will continue.
Katia’s formation date of August 30 puts 2011 in 5th place for earliest date of arrival of the season’s 11th storm. Only 2005, 1995, 1936, and 1933 had an earlier 11th storm.
WSB Meteorologist Kirk Mellish says: “I’ve pointed this out before and will again, 95% of hurricanes stay off the east coast even if by only a little, 97% of gulf hurricanes do not hit New Orleans”.
Having said that, it looks like Katia will become a MAJOR Category storm, but for how long is unknown and the future track will not be decided until after Sept 5th. Both future “Lee” and Katia are both legitimate threats to somewhere on the U.S. coastline and must be monitored in the days ahead, says Mellish.
Some models show a hit on the East Coast, others a near miss, and others curve it out to sea well away from the USA.
Tracking tip: forecaster rule of thumb is threats from Atlantic storms increase if a tropical cyclone makes it to 20 degrees North and 60 degrees West.
Meanwhile, a PITB system (pain in the butt) is forming in the Gulf of Mexico: it may be a big rainmaker, could well become “Lee” and may well hang around doing slow loops in the gulf for a week.
Heat lovers are not totally off the hook in Atlanta, according to Mellish, “but the pattern change will mean we are up and down back and forth, rather than in the almost unbroken 90 or above pattern of summer, so while we will see more 90 and maybe even 95 before September is done, the worst is over as days grow shorter, nights longer and the slide to cooler autumn temperatures comes upon us”.