CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – We’re seeing one of the busiest early hurricane seasons in history with Tropical Storm Elsa breaking a record for the earliest named “E” storm.
The average date of the first hurricane of the season is August 10th. Elsa temporarily held hurricane status last week starting on July 2nd, a month and some change before the average.
Ana, Bill, Claudette, and Danny have come and gone. The average date of the first “fourth storm” or “D” named storm is August 23rd.
“We are outta the gate as fast as we’ve been especially with this latest one Elsa,” said the Lowcountry’s Chief Meteorologist, Rob Fowler. “The ‘E’ storm now is the quickest, fastest forming storm of any hurricane season.”
It’s hard to know exactly why the pace is so quick, but it boils down to favorable conditions for storms to form.
“All the parameters are in place in terms of the sea surface temperatures being very warm, we’re kinda in between an El Nino, LaNina which is a neutral pattern that is kind of a wild card or a curveball. You’re not sure what you’re going to get,” explained Fowler.
All of that factors into a chance for more storms this season. And we could see another above-average season.
“I think all the parameters are in place to have a busy year, abnormal season in terms of the numbers. In a normal year, we see 14 storms. We could maybe see upwards of 20. That’s the official forecast between 13 and 20. We usually see 7 hurricanes and we could easily see that number.”
Whether the Lowcountry sees one more storm or 10 this hurricane season, the City of Charleston is prepared.
“We are looking at our procedures like barricade erecting things like road closures,” said Daniel Flessas, an emergency management specialist for the City of Charleston.
High water vehicles, sandbags, and barricades are ready to be deployed in case a storm comes to the Lowcountry and emergency management teams have been briefed on procedures in case of flooding, wind damage, road closures, and more. The Stormwater Department has pumps on hand for stormwater management.
“I would just remind the public, even if you’re seeing these tropical storms that don’t amount to much, it doesn’t mean you won’t get flooding. It doesn’t mean that we won’t get another one a week or two weeks from now so you need to get ready,” said Flessas.