EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is calling for an above average Atlantic hurricane season this year, but a new study suggests that could mean any storms that threaten the United States may actually be weaker.
Research conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison sought to find a relationship between the number of hurricanes that develop in a single season and the number of major hurricanes that actually make landfall.
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Hurricanes thrive when ocean temperatures are warm and upper-level winds are weak. The study shows that in that same environment, a natural protective barrier in the form of high winds may develop close to the coast. This would be a harsh environment for hurricanes and could explain why there have been fewer major, land-falling storms.
So during years of increased hurricane activity, weaker hurricanes along the coast would be expected.
There are indications, however, that we could be heading towards years with less activity in the Atlantic, which might mean the storms that do reach the coast could be much stronger.
Next month also marks the 25th anniversary of one of the most damaging storms in U.S. history.
In August of 1992, Hurricane Andrew slammed the Florida Coast as a Category 5 storm before making second landfall in Louisiana.
While Andrew didn’t impact the Northeast, the storm has huge historical significance. It caused approximately $27 billion in damage and is still the last Category 5 hurricane to make landfall in the United States.