JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Let’s talk about Jacksonville before we talk about the heart of the current hurricane season. Every day for what seems to be weeks, we have had afternoon and evening thunderstorms. Now, for some, they will think this is totally normal, the reality is, it is, but this has been an above normal streak. Mostly in terms of consistency, as each and every afternoon and evening we have seen storms erupt across one part or another part of Duval (or for that matter, fill in the blank County across Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia). These storms have been occasionally severe, but typically less wild and more mild. They have also been predominately during the early evening hours between 3-6 pm. There has been some good news from these storms, as they have been keeping our afternoon highs from spiking towards 100°
Well, that weather pattern is about to start shifting.
We will soon lose the afternoon and evening storms and start to see them “pop” during the late evening, then overnight and then develop along the Coastal counties during the very early morning hours. A shift will take place.
Thunder will still roll, it’s the time of day that will be shifting. Instead of having your umbrella ready to go each evening, it will soon become a necessary need all day long, morning, noon, evening and overnight.
The shift will be notable in about two weeks and it will coincide with the shift we will see in the hurricane season.
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Not withstanding this record breaking early hurricane season, the typical hurricane season doesn’t get interesting until about August 20th. Prior to this date, tropical systems tend to spiral up, but they rarely spiral up out of control. Early season storms (especially pre-season storms) are typically remembered for their rain amounts, not for their destructive wind damage and killer storm surge.
Hide from the wind and run from the water (flooding).
By mid-August hurricane potential begins to brew, as there is a subtle but accelerating change in the atmosphere. A change that helps support the formation and development of more powerful storms. It all begins with the daytime hours that shift to shorter and shorter days. All the while, ocean waters have reached their seasonal peak, and because the daylight hours are shorter, the atmosphere is cooling with each longer night. This allows the atmosphere to become more and more unstable, where warm - moist air down low and cooling-moist atmosphere above becomes the driving force for tropical systems to develop.
From now until October 20th, there is a historic average of a 50-50 chance of a named storm (or more) being somewhere out in the tropics. There is also a 5-10% daily chance of a major hurricane being somewhere out in the tropics.
Almost all of the deadliest and most destructive hurricanes were major, category 3, 4 and 5 hurricanes.