US braces for a battering by THREE potential hurricanes in September – including one that could spoil Labor Day for millions – after boiling August which saw no named storms for only the third time in 60 years
- The last named storm to make landfall in the U.S. was Tropical Storm Colin, which hit the Carolinas on July 2
- For the first time since 1982, that there has not been a single named storm anywhere in the Atlantic between July 3 and the penultimate week of August
- Forecasters predicted an unusually intense hurricane season this year, and are warning that it is too early to definitively say they were wrong
- Three potential storms are currently forming off the east coast of the USA – the three, if named, would be Danielle, Earl and Fiona
- The one of most imminent concern is currently in the Central Tropical Atlantic, while a second is 600 miles east of Bermuda and a third off West Africa
- A fourth potential storm is currently in the Northwestern Caribbean Sea, but is heading for Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and unlikely to hit the U.S.
Three potential hurricanes could hit the United States in September after only the third hurricane-free August in 60 years.
The nearest storm as of Monday was described by the National Hurricane Center as being in the Central Tropical Atlantic, and they estimate the chance of it becoming a hurricane within five days at 80 percent.
Two more follow: one 600 miles east of Bermuda as of 2pm EDT on Monday, given a 10 percent chance of becoming a hurricane, and the third off the west coast of Africa, given a 30 percent chance of strengthening to a hurricane in the next five days.
A fourth storm is being monitored, heading towards Mexico‘s Yucatan Peninsula, but is not expected to hit the U.S. The last named storm to hit the U.S. was Tropical Storm Colin, which landed in the Carolinas on July 2.
This time last year, the U.S. had endured Tropical Storm Fred, which hit Florida on August 16 and spawned 31 tornadoes from Georgia to Massachusetts, and Hurricane Henri, which slammed into New England on August 22, flooding large swathes of the coast.
On August 29, 2021, Hurricane Ida made landfall near Port Fourchon, Louisiana, with sustained winds of 150 mph – tying the state record for the strongest landfall speeds felt with the 1856 Last Island hurricane and Hurricane Laura of 2020.
Philip Klotzbach, a hurricane researcher at Colorado State University, noted that it is the first time since 1982 that there has not been a single named storm anywhere in the Atlantic between July 3 and the penultimate week of August.
The phenomena has happened five other times since 1950, making a quiet stretch this long leading up to peak season a roughly once-a-decade event.
Accuweather senior meteorologist Dan Pydynowski told USA Today it was still possible that August would have a named storm.
‘Will we get through the end of the day Wednesday (without a named storm)? It’s probably going to be a close call,’ Pydynowski said.
Accuweather’s forecast predicts 16 named storms this season: two above the average, but five fewer than in 2021.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts six to 10 Atlantic hurricanes compared with the norm of seven, and they can come quickly in September, when ocean water is at its warmest.
‘You don’t want people to let their guard down,’ said Pydynowski. ‘Just because we haven’t had any storms yet doesn’t mean we won’t.
‘And it’s not necessarily the number of storms that counts. ‘It’s: does the storm hit the U.S., and if it does, what is the intensity when it does so?’
It comes as Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said he is declaring a state of emergency after excessive rainfall exacerbated problems in one of Jackson’s water-treatment plants and caused low water pressure in the capital.
The low pressure raised concerns about firefighting and about people’s ability to take showers or flush toilets.
Reeves said that on Tuesday, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency will start distributing both drinking water and non-potable water in the city of 150,000 residents, and the National Guard will be called in to help.
The governor said he understands people in Jackson do not want to have water system problems. ‘I get it. I live in the city. It’s not news that I want to hear,’ Reeves said. ‘But we are going to be there for you.’
A swollen Pearl River flooded streets and at least one home in Jackson on Monday, days after storms dumped heavy rain, but water levels were starting to recede.
Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said the water did not rise as high as expected. Earlier projections showed about 100 to 150 buildings in the Jackson area faced the possibility of flooding.
‘We thank the Lord most of all for sparing so many of our residents,’ Lumumba said Monday, hours before the governor spoke about the water system.
The National Weather Service said the Pearl River had crested at about 35.4 feet.
That is short of the major flood stage level of 36 feet.
Jackson has two water-treatment plants, and the larger one is near a reservoir that provides most of the city’s water supply. The reservoir also has a role in flood control.
Lumumba – a Democrat who was not invited to the Republican governor’s news conference – said flooding has created additional problems at the treatment plant, and low water pressure could last a few days.
‘What I liken it to is if you were drinking out of a Styrofoam cup, someone puts a hole in the bottom of it, you’re steady trying to fill it while it’s steady running out at the bottom,’ Lumumba said.
Jackson has longstanding problems with its water system.
A cold snap in 2021 left a significant number of people without running water after pipes froze. Similar problems happened again early this year, on a smaller scale. The city has been under a boil-water notice since late July because tests found a cloudy quality to the water that could lead to health problems.
Legislative leaders reacted with alarm to Jackson’s latest water system problems.
‘We have grave concerns for citizens’ health and safety,’ Republican Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann said in a statement Monday, suggesting the state take a role in trying to solve the issue.
The Republican House speaker, Philip Gunn, said he has been contacted by hospitals, businesses and schools ‘pleading that something be done to address the water crisis in Jackson.’
As the Pearl River started to rise last week, some Jackson residents started moving furniture and appliances out of their homes, and others stocked up on sandbags.
Two years ago, torrential rain caused the river to reach 36.7 feet and Jackson homes in the hardest-hit neighborhoods were filled with dirty, snake-infested floodwaters.
Suzannah Thames owns a three-bedroom rental home in northeast Jackson that flooded with about three feet of water in 2020. Thames hired a crew to move appliances, furniture and other belongings out of the home Friday. She said Monday that the home flooded with about 3 to 4 inches inches of water late Sunday.
‘I thought it was going to be a lot worse,’ Thames said. ‘I feel very fortunate. I feel very blessed.’
Andre Warner, 54, said Monday that his family had put all their furniture up on cinderblocks inside their home to prepare for possible flooding in another northeast Jackson neighborhood.
Warner said the family had to leave home for two weeks during the 2020 flood. Water did not enter their house then, but electricity was off in their neighborhood because other homes were inundated.
‘We had to wait for it to drain and dry out for them to cut the grid back on,’ Warner said.
The Mississippi flooding was less severe than flooding that caused death and destruction in Kentucky last month.
Those floods left at least 39 dead and robbed thousands of families of all of their possessions.
Nearly a month later, residents are wrestling with whether to rebuild at the place they call home or to start over somewhere else.
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