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Why So Many Hurricanes So Soon?

By: Whitney Holmes
By: Whitney Holmes

July 19, 2005

As south Texas braces for yet another hurricane making its way through the Caribbean and Gulf, many wonder: are these storms going to keep coming one after another?

Some say it is the price you pay to live in paradise, but coastal residents have been paying earlier than usual this year.

Emily is already the fifth major tropical storm to hit so far this season, which started June 1, but does not typically peak until August.

"2005 is one of only four years in which we have had five named storms (that is storms that have reached tropical storm strength or higher), by August 1," said State Climatologist Jerry Stenger.

Stenger said he knew this year would be active, with a prediction of four intense hurricanes this season, but he did not know they would hit so early.

Still, he said this does not mean there is going to be more storms than first thought.

"When we look at the relationship between the total number of storms in the season and the number of storms that occurred through the month of July, we do not see a statistically significant relationship," he said.

Stenger blames unusually warm waters which feed hurricanes for the early storms, but each time a storm passes through, it stirs up cool water, weakening the storm.

Stenger says this is what happened to Emily.

"Part of the reason why Emily weakened so much over the past couple of days is because of this passing over cooler waters that had been stirred up," he explained.

Emily might gain back her strength, but she could very well be the storm before the calm.

Emily is supposed to gain strength back to a Category 3 hurricane, and is expected to reach more land by tomorrow.


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