After lobbing cyclone after cyclone at unwitting coastlines, submerging Houston, laying waste to Barbuda, crushing the Florida Keys, and plunging Puerto Rico into darkness, the tropical Atlantic has stilled.
For 30 consecutive days, one or more named storms have crashed through the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and western Atlantic Ocean — an impressive stretch not seen since 1995.
While Maria powers on as a hurricane, and Jose clung to life as a post-tropical cyclone on Friday, hurricane experts are forecasting a respite from the onslaught of maniac storms.
“We obviously have two active systems in the Atlantic with Maria and Jose, but after that, it does look like we have a little break in the pattern,” said AccuWeather senior meteorologist Dan Pydynowski. “There are no tropical waves coming off the coast of Africa that we are really concerned about at this time.”
A knot of low pressure deep in the Central Atlantic did regenerate to Tropical Depression Lee on Friday and then grow into a Category 1 hurricane over the weekend. But the National Hurricane Center said Lee is more than 900 miles east-southeast of Bermuda and no threat to land.
With 40 percent of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season still ahead, the tropical cyclone tally already tops normal end-of-season numbers with 13 named storms, seven hurricanes and four major hurricanes. The climatological seasonal average between 1981 and 2010 is 12 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes.
“The good news is once we get Maria out of the way, the pattern should settle down some,” said Jonathan Erdman, a senior meteorologist at Weather.com. “It’s a pretty big shift where, even if we do have something form in the tropics, the deep plunge in the jet stream in the eastern U.S. would steer it out to sea.”
It could be that the runway of warm water and light wind shear in the area stretching from western Africa into the Caribbean is winding down, which is typical for this time of year.
Called the “main development region,” it is where so-called Cape Verde hurricanes are born. These storms can have lengthy lifespans and nasty tempers.