Currently — August 24th, 2022

The weather, currently.

For many folks, this time of year means traumatic hurricane anniversaries.

Wednesday is the 30th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew, which made a Category 5 landfall in south Florida in 1992. Currently’s John Morales was in Miami working in his first year as the first Spanish-language television meteorologist in US history, and shared his memories three decades later with the Washington Post.

“Hurricane Andrew survivors were psychologically scarred for life,” Morales told the Post.

There hasn’t been a hurricane like Andrew that has hit south Florida in the 30 years since Andrew.  “There is an entire generation of South Floridians who have never experienced major hurricane conditions,” Morales said. “There are also thousands of transplants — folks who have zero experience in dealing with tropical cyclone emergencies.”

The need for clear, timely, plain-language communication that Morales provides for Currently in Miami and Puerto Rico is more needed than ever.

This week will also feature the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey on Thursday, which created the worst freshwater hurricane flood in US history in Texas and the second anniversary of Hurricane Laura in Lake Charles, Louisiana on Saturday — where thousands of people remain displaced with little aid, even as the oil and gas industry has profited.

Sunday is the first anniversary of Hurricane Ida — which hit both Louisiana and New York City with flooding rains. Though this year’s hurricane season has started slowly, our luck will eventually run out. Currently's Aarohi Sheth has more on that below.

If you're struggling with difficult emotions after a disaster, whether days, weeks, months, or even years later, you can talk with the Disaster Distress Helpline 24/7/365 by calling or texting 1-800-985-5990.

—Eric Holthaus

What you need to know, currently.

The 2022 Atlantic season is off to its slowest start in 30 years.

Two recent Gulf tropical disturbances failed to become depressions or storms, but activity is expected to rise in the next few weeks. Right now, that leaves us with three named storms: Alex, Bonnie and Collin. Colorado State University tropical scientist Phil Klotzbach stated that this was the first time in 40 years that no named storms formed between July 3rd and August 22nd in the Atlantic Basin.

So why is this happening? First, there is Saharan dust present in the main development region of the tropics.

“The persistent dust is a problem because it smothers any developing thunderstorms in the Atlantic that have any potential of becoming a tropical storm,” said Megan Montero, Currently’s Interim Chief Meteorologist.

In short, the strong low latitude wind in combination with sinking air hinders storm formation. There are also high winds across the Atlantic basin. And, the high pressure system that’s usually found over Bermuda at this time is farther north, resulting in heat waves and intense droughts that cause even more dry air.

While there’s no known correlation between a slower hurricane season start and intensity nor how the rest of it goes down, Klotzbach points out that 90 percent of all Category 3 or stronger Atlantic Basin hurricanes happened after August 20th. Also, the peak of the season usually occurs around September 10th.

“Do not count the season out yet,” said Montero. “There are still several atmospheric and oceanic conditions that favor an active hurricane season.”

For example, we’re in a La Nina year, which tend to see more Atlantic hurricane activity. There are also weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds, an active African Monsoon and higher sea surface temperatures.

In the meantime, it’s important to stay prepared!

—Aarohi Sheth