Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Franklin becomes 2017’s first hurricane


The first hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season finally formed Wednesday afternoon, as Hurricane Franklin intensifies in the Bay of Campeche.

As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, Franklin had maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, just above the threshold to be classified as a hurricane, according to the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center.

The storm’s center sits about 105 miles northeast of Veracruz, Mexico, moving west at 12 mph. Franklin is expected to make landfall along the Mexican coastline overnight.

While clearly not a threat to Southwest Florida, 700 miles away and headed in the opposite direction, Franklin is a reminder that the busy time of hurricane season is here.

Last week, the Tropical Meteorology Project at Colorado State University predicted a 61 percent chance of a hurricane making landfall somewhere on Florida’s coastline in 2017, as part of a season with an estimated eight hurricanes out of 16 named storms.

Wednesday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, of which the National Hurricane Center is a part, released their most recent estimates for the 2017 hurricane season. NOAA forecasters call for between 14 and 19 named storms, and from five to nine hurricanes. The forecast estimates between two and five of those hurricanes will be major hurricanes.

“We’re now entering the peak of the season when the bulk of the storms usually form,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “The wind and air patterns in the area of the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean where many storms develop are very conducive to an above-normal season. This is in part because the chance of an El Nino forming, which tends to prevent storms from strengthening, has dropped significantly from May.”

2017: Franklin, Aug. 9
2016: Earl, Aug. 3
2015: Danny, Aug. 20
2014: Arthur, July 3
2013: Humberto, Sept. 11
2012: Chris, June 21
2011: Irene, Aug. 21
2010: Alex, June 30

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