Despite a quiet July in the Atlantic, the AccuWeather.com Long-Range Forecasting team still expects the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season to be near normal in terms of the number of named storms. The forecast calls for a total of 12 tropical storms, five named hurricanes and two major hurricanes.
With the number of named tropical storms and hurricanes so far this season factored in, there should be eight additional tropical storms, four of which will become hurricanes, through the rest of the hurricane season. Of those four hurricanes, two could strengthen into major hurricanes, Category 3 or higher.
The tropics will become more active from the middle of August through the middle of September with an uptick in the number of named storms. This is the normal peak time of the Atlantic hurricane season.
The U.S. may be impacted by two more named tropical systems, according to AccuWeather Expert Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski. The central Gulf Coast to the southern Virginia coast is most likely to get hit. Once again, Florida could be susceptible.
The chances are lower for the western Gulf coast and northern Atlantic coast to endure a direct landfall of a named tropical system, but they are not immune. Even if a storm does not make landfall in these areas, there can still be impact of flooding rainfall far from where storms move inland.
A gradual fading of the season will occur during October, depending on how fast and strong El Niño comes on. El Niño is a phenomenon characterized by above-normal water temperatures across the central and equatorial Pacific. Water temperatures are warming in the Pacific with the pattern trending toward a weak El Niño.
When an El Niño pattern develops, it forces strong westerly winds high in the atmosphere to shift farther south across the Atlantic. More frequent episodes of high wind shear inhibit tropical development by preventing vertical building of clouds and a well-defined center.
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Prior to midweek, severe thunderstorms with damaging winds, downpours and hail will threaten areas from Indiana to Texas.
Millions travel to Washington, D.C. each year to catch a glimpse of the magnificent pink blossoms.
Following rain and snow in the Northwest on Sunday, another storm will take aim at California and the Southwest Monday into Tuesday.
A potent line of thunderstorms will sweep across the Northeast into Saturday night with damaging winds, hail and downpours.
Soaking rain and locally severe thunderstorms will take aim at the eastern United States around the middle of the week.
A large part of South America will be treated to a "ring of fire" solar eclipse on Sunday, but only if the weather cooperates.
After record-shattering warmth baked the mid-Atlantic and Northeast to end the past week, much colder air will settle over the region on Sunday.
A widespread outbreak of severe weather is threatening a large portion of the Midwest.