It's hard now even to believe that the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season started off with two Category 5 storms. The Gabrielles, the Karens, the Melissas -- they've slowly made us forget storms like Dean and Felix. For the time being, anyway.
I mean, sure: Hurricanes Humberto and Lorenzo were extremely rapid intensifiers. But they were only Category 1 storms for a few hours apiece--failing to provide sustained drama of the sort that makes CNN run an storm update every hour for days at a time. Except among the wonks who track hurricane records, these storms were quickly forgotten.
But now, here comes Tropical Storm Noel. Sure, it may never become a hurricane. On the other hand, it is dumping prodigious rain over Hispaniola, the island that is home to both Haiti and the Dominican Republic. 2004's Tropical Depression Jeanne, which killed 3,000 people in Haiti in this way, is being invoked frequently right now. After all, you don't need an intense hurricane to cause a lot of death and damage if you've got mountainous terrain and a slow moving storm that pours down precipitation. Right now, the fear is that Noel will be one of these, and that the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season will close out nastily after all.
To be sure, the fate of Noel -- and its impact -- both remain very uncertain. The current official forecast takes the storm out into the open Atlantic after it passes the Caribbean, and never makes it a hurricane. Whether the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season will officially end with Noel -- our 14th named storm -- also remains to be seen. Technically the season doesn't end until the end of November, although the traditional period for the development of major hurricanes is quickly waning.
National Hurricane Center
Also of interest: An unnamed storm, 05A, has developed in the Arabian Sea and may be heading toward the Arabian Peninsula or Africa. According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, 05A is still a tropical storm at the moment. But it looks like it's intensifying. And remember: 2007 is the year we saw our first Category 5 storm ever in the traditionally fairly quiet Arabian Sea -- Gonu. With 05A, that record active year could continue ...
Enter your city or zip code to get your local temperature and air quality and find local green food and recycling resources near you.