There is much wailing and gnashing of teeth about Hurricane Ophelia , which gained Category 1 hurricane status on Wednesday, [October] 11th.
Ophelia becoming Cat1 means that 2017 became the first year in more than a century in which 10 Atlantic storms in a row reached hurricane strength. Here are the names of all ten hurricanes so far in 2017:
Franklin, Gert, Harvey, Irma, Jose, Katia, Lee, Maria, Nate, and Ophelia.
But here is the kicker: This is the fourth time on record that we have had 10 Atlantic hurricanes. This is nature doing business as usual, with her swings between boom and bust. The last time there were 10 Atlantic hurricanes was in 1893, as seen in this tracking map below:
Here is something else to note. Back then, satellite, radar, and even ship to shore radio communications didn’t exist. So, there was not the same level of reporting we enjoy today. Therefore it is possible some weak tropical storms even an 11th hurricane may have gone unreported that year.
There were also 10 Atlantic hurricanes reported in 1878 and 1886. But since modern records began in 1851, there has never been an 11-hurricane stretch that we know of, though without the modern weather technology we enjoy today, it’s quite possible storms were missed in the past.
And, for those that want to blame global warming/climate change for what is going on on 2017, they should probably explain why there were three 10 hurricane event years in a short span of time when the planet was noticeably cooler between 1850 and 1900:
Right now, Ophelia is very far out in the Atlantic from the United States, and no threat. But it looks like it could affect Ireland and part of the UK:
And that’s causing the usual social justice warriors to have a cow. Of course there’s evidence of past hurricanes hitting the Ireland and UK area as extratropical cyclones, the end-stage of a hurricane.
A report in LiveScience in 2011 says:
From 1851 to 2010, only 10 extratropical storms, typically the tail ends of tropical cyclones, have hit within 200 miles (322 kilometers) of Ireland, Feltgen said. Hurricane Debbie was the only tropical hurricane to make landfall in that area, clipping the far northwest of the British Isles in 1961.
By the time storms make it across the Atlantic they are no longer getting their energy from the warm water, and they are similar to the winter storms that blow across the ocean, Feltgen said. Also, the strongest winds are no longer confined to the storm’s core as they are in a tightly wound hurricane. Katia is expected to bring winds of up to 80 mph (129 kph).
Sometimes they just form on their own, without a hurricane starter, such as the Great storm of 1987:
The Great Storm of 1987 was a violent extratropical cyclone that occurred on the night of 15–16 October, with hurricane-force winds causing casualties in England, France and the Channel Islands as a severe depression in the Bay of Biscaymoved northeast. Among the most damaged areas were Greater London, the East Anglian coast, the Home Counties, the west of Brittany and the Cotentin Peninsula of Normandy which weathered gusts typically with a return period of 1 in 200 years.
I won’t get too worried about all the alarmist caterwauling over Ophelia remnants.
Note: within 15 minutes of publication, some minor formatting issues were corrected, with some additions to enhance readability. A typographical error was also corrected, changing July to October.