Already six hurricanes have formed in the Atlantic Basin so far in 2017 — an entire season’s worth — and half of those are spinning over Atlantic and Gulf waters now.
That is an unusual occurrence, and speaks to why the government started attaching names to tropical storms starting with the 1953 season.
“The use of short, distinctive names in written as well as spoken communications is quicker and less subject to error than the older, more cumbersome latitude-longitude identification methods,” the National Hurricane Center explains on its site.
It adds, “The use of easily remembered names greatly reduces confusion when two or more tropical storms occur at the same time.”
Right now, we all know about Irma, which has raked the Caribbean and stoked anxieties in the Southeast.
But somewhat off the radar, Katia was heading toward the Mexican coast with peak winds of 85 mph.
And Jose has blown up to a Category 3 hurricane, with peak winds at 150 mph, based on aerial reconnaissance.
For now, the hurricane center expects it remain a fish storm before perhaps curving toward Bermuda.
In all, the 2017 season, which doesn’t end until Nov. 30, has produced 10 tropical storms worth of names — with peak winds of at least 39 mph. The full-season average is 11.
The number for hurricanes, winds of at least 74 mph, is six. We’re there.