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The Atlantic hurricane season also finished with an above-average ACE thanks in large part to just three storms. It’s much harder for storms to find the perfect conditions to grow into monsters in the Atlantic Ocean because there are more opportunities for things to go wrong. Tropical cyclones require persistent thunderstorms, warm waters, tropical air, and low wind shear. There’s usually too much—or too little—of at least one of those factors in the Atlantic, which makes it difficult for storms to develop and then sustain themselves at full strength for very long.
Most of the storms we saw in the Atlantic this year were relatively weak and short-lived. A record number of the basin’s storms were subtropical at some point during their lives—a designation for a storm that doesn’t have completely tropical characteristics, but it’s close enough to earn a name and the same treatment from the National Hurricane Center. The seven subtropical storms that formed in the Atlantic this year broke the previous record of five set back in the late 1960s.
Florence - Michael - Examples - Storms - Season
Florence and Michael are unfortunate examples of storms breaking through an otherwise dull season. Each of these storms were able to reach their full intensity and turn into tragedies because they found a brief pocket of favorable conditions for strengthening that none of the other storms managed to encounter.
Hurricane Florence started out near the Cabo Verde Islands in the last few days of August, and spent the week or so that followed cycling between strong and weak. This revolving allowed it to take an odd track through the central Atlantic and survive several hostile environments before reaching the right combination of warm water, low wind shear, and moist air that allowed it to explode into a monstrous hurricane.
Story - Florence - Course - Water
The real story of Florence, of course, was the water instead of...
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