On December 1, 2015, the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, published its final monthly summary (for November 2015) and its season-end report for the 2015 tropical storm season in the Atlantic Basin (North Atlantic, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico). The Atlantic season runs June 1-November 30. The report is available online at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/MIATWSAT.shtml (as of 12/1/15).
One tropical cyclone, Hurricane Kate, formed in the Atlantic basin during November. The Hurricane Center’s report noted that during the period 1981-2010, a named tropical storm has formed in November in about 7 out of every 10 years, and a hurricane has formed about every other year.
Overall during 2015, 11 named storms occurred, four of which became hurricanes and two of those became “major” hurricanes (Category 3 or above); one unnamed tropical depression also occurred. The annual average seen during the 30-year period 1981-2010 is 12 named storms, six hurricanes, and three major hurricanes. The NHC report noted that many of 2015 Atlantic storms were “relatively weak and short-lived,” so that the “accumulated cyclone energy” for 2015—combining strength and duration of storms—was about 63 percent of the 1981-2010 average.
Below is the NHC’s list of all 2015 Atlantic basin tropical depressions, tropical storms, and hurricanes through November, with their dates of occurrence and maximum wind speeds.
(Abbreviations: H = hurricane; MH = major hurricane; TD = tropical depression; TS = tropical storm)
TS Ana – May 8-11 – 60 mph
TS Bill – June 16-20 – 60 mph
TS Claudette – July 13-14 – 50 mph
MH Danny – August 18-24 – 115 mph
TS Erika – August 25-29 – 50 mph
H Fred – August 30 to September 6 – 85 mph
TS Grace – September 5-9 – 50 mph
TS Henri – September 9-11 – 40 mph
TD Nine – September 16-19 – 35 mph
TS Ida – September 18-27 – 50 mph
MH Joaquin – September 28-October 7 – 155 mph
H Kate – November 9-12 – 75 mph
When completed, reports on individual 2015 storms (including tracks) will be available online at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/data/tcr/index.php?season=2015&basin=atl. The archive of advisories on these storms is available online at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2015/.
Below is the Hurricane Center’s graph of preliminary tracks (subject to verification) of Atlantic tropical storms and hurricanes in 2015, as of 12-1-15.
A December 1, 2015, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) news release on the 2015 tropical storm season (available online at http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2015/120115-below-normal-atlantic-hurricane-season-ends-active-eastern-and-central-pacific-seasons-shatter-records.html) noted the following about the Atlantic and Pacific tropical storm seasons:
“The Atlantic, eastern and central Pacific hurricane seasons officially ended yesterday, and as predicted, the Atlantic season stayed below normal with 11 named storms, while the eastern and central Pacific were above normal with both regions shattering all-time records.
“Overall, the Atlantic hurricane season produced 11 named storms, including four hurricanes (Danny, Fred, Joaquin and Kate), two of which, Danny and Joaquin, became major hurricanes. Although no hurricanes made landfall in the United States this year, two tropical storms – Ana and Bill – struck the northeastern coast of South Carolina and Texas, respectively. Ana caused minor wind damage, beach erosion and one direct death in North Carolina, and Bill produced heavy rain and flooding while it moved across eastern Texas and Oklahoma. Hurricane Joaquin is the first Category 4 hurricane since 1866 to impact the Bahamas during the month of October.
“NOAA scientists credit El Niño as the leading climate factor influencing both the Atlantic and Pacific seasons this year. …El Niño suppressed the Atlantic season by producing strong vertical wind shear combined with increased atmospheric stability, stronger sinking motion and drier air across the tropical Atlantic, all of which make it difficult for tropical storms and hurricanes to form and strengthen. However, El Niño fueled the eastern and central Pacific seasons this year with the weakest vertical wind shear on record.
“The eastern Pacific saw 18 named storms, including 13 hurricanes, nine of which became major. This is the first year since reliable record-keeping began in 1971 that the eastern Pacific saw nine major hurricanes. Hurricane Patricia was the strongest hurricane on record in the Western Hemisphere in terms of maximum wind speed at 200 miles per hour and lowest air pressure at 879 millibars. Hurricane Sandra, which formed at the tail end of the season, was the strongest hurricane in the eastern Pacific so late in the year, with a maximum sustained wind speed of 145 miles per hour.
“The central Pacific shattered its records too, with 14 named storms, including eight hurricanes, five of which became major hurricanes, the most active season since reliable record-keeping began in 1971. Three major hurricanes (Ignacio, Kilo, and Jimena) churned at the same time east of the International Dateline, the first time that was ever recorded.”
Below is a satellite photo of Hurricane Joaquin, in the Atlantic Ocean east of Virginia and heading northeast, on October 5, 2015, 2:15 p.m. EDT (1815 Z, or Greenwich Mean Time). Joaquin reached the highest wind speed (155 mph) of any Atlantic basin storm in 2015. Photo taken from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Web site, http://www.goes.noaa.gov/browsh.html, on 10/5/15.
For previous News Grouper posts on Atlantic tropical storm reports (monthly and yearly) from the National Hurricane Center, please go to this link: https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/?s=Tropical+Storm.