In a little under three weeks, the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season will officially get underway.
With neutral - warm conditions expected to prevail in the ENSO and a weak El Nino likely to form by the end of the year, most forecasters are predicting an average to slightly above average season in terms of the number of named storms. However, several indicators suggest that those systems which form are more likely to impact land, due to the likelihood of formation along the western perimeters of the basin [that is, within the Caribbean or the Gulf of Mexico, or along the eastern seaboard of the US, west of 60N]. Additionally, instability appears likely to be greater this year than last, at least potentially giving rise to more long-lived and powerful systems.
Thus, while this season may not be as busy as last year's, the potential for "drama and trauma" in the basin is as high as it ever is.
Taking a retrospective look at the last ten years of Atlantic tropical cyclones, it appears obvious that The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands are very much in the thick of things track-wise. Since 2002, the archipelago been impacted by at least 15 TCs, at least 6 of them hurricanes and at least 3 of those majors.
Year/ Storm/ Status/ Area impacted
2003/ Mindy/ TS/ Turks and Caicos
2004/ Frances/ MH/ Turks and Caicos, Bahamas
2004/ Jeanne/ MH/ Bahamas
2005/ Katrina/ TS/ Bahamas
2005/ Rita/ TS/ Bahamas
2005/ Wilma/ MH/ Bahamas
2005/ Alpha/ TS/ Bahamas, Turks and Caicos
2007/ Noel/ TS/ Bahamas, Turks and Caicos
2008/ Hanna/ H/ Bahamas, Turks and Caicos
2008/ Ike/ MH/ Bahamas, Turks and Caicos
2010/ Bonnie/ TS/ Bahamas, Turks and Caicos
2010/ Nicole/ TS/ Bahamas
2010/ Tomas/ TS/ Bahamas, Turks and Caicos
2011/ Bret/ TS/ Bahamas
2011/ Emily/ TS/ Bahamas, Turks and Caicos
2011/ Irene/ MH/ Bahamas, Turks and Caicos
That's why Bahamians and Turks Islanders should not relax their guard. Instead, now is a great time to run through the hurricane preparation list, including checking out the shutters and the roof, as well as beginning to stock the hurricane supply chest.
When the season begins, I will be updating this blog as often as I can, especially during events which threaten our area.