Orlando, Fla. – August marks the third month of Hurricane season. There’s a noticeable change in the amount of activity we begin to see in the tropics. It picks up.
August is the eighth month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars, and the fifth of seven months to have a length of 31 days. It was originally named Sextilis in Latin because it was the sixth month in the original ten-month Roman calendar under Romulus in 753 BC, with March being the first month of the year. About 700 BC, it became the eighth month when January and February were added to the year before March by King Numa Pompilius, who also gave it 29 days. Julius Caesar added two days when he created the Julian calendar in 46 BC (708 AUC), giving it its modern length of 31 days. In 8 BC, it was renamed in honor of Augustus. According to a Senatus consultum quoted by Macrobius, he chose this month because it was the time of several of his great triumphs, including the conquest of Egypt.August does not start on the same day of the week as any other month in common years, but starts on the same day of the week as February in leap years. It ends on the same day of the week as November every year. In years preceding common years, it starts and ends on the same day of the week as May of the following year. In years preceding leap years, it begins and ends on the same day of the week as October of the following year and ends on the same day of the week as February of the following year. In common years preceded by any year, August begins on the same day of the week as March and November and ends on the same day of the week as March and June. In leap years, it begins on the same day of the week as June of the previous year and ends on the same day of the week as September of the previous year. In common years preceded by common years, August begins on the same day of the week as February of the previous year.
In the Southern Hemisphere, August is the seasonal equivalent of February in the Northern Hemisphere. In many European countries, August is the holiday month for most workers. Numerous religious holidays occurred during August in ancient Rome.Certain meteor showers take place in August. The Kappa Cygnids take place in August, with the dates varying each year. The Alpha Capricornids meteor shower takes place as early as July 10 and ends at around August 10, and the Southern Delta Aquariids take place from mid-July to mid-August, with the peak usually around July 28–29. The Perseids, a major meteor shower, typically takes place between July 17 and August 24, with the days of the peak varying yearly. The star cluster of Messier 30 is best observed around August.
Among the aborigines of the Canary Islands, especially among the Guanches of Tenerife, the month of August received in the name of Beñesmer or Beñesmen, which was also the harvest festival held this month.
August is when Hurricane season starts to pick up steam
A tropical cyclone is a rapidly rotating storm system characterized by a low-pressure center, a closed low-level atmospheric circulation, strong winds, and a spiral arrangement of thunderstorms that produce heavy rain or squalls. Depending on its location and strength, a tropical cyclone is referred to by different names, including hurricane (), typhoon (), tropical storm, cyclonic storm, tropical depression, and simply cyclone. A hurricane is a tropical cyclone that occurs in the Atlantic Ocean and northeastern Pacific Ocean, and a typhoon occurs in the northwestern Pacific Ocean; in the south Pacific or Indian Ocean, comparable storms are referred to simply as “tropical cyclones” or “severe cyclonic storms”.”Tropical” refers to the geographical origin of these systems, which form almost exclusively over tropical seas. “Cyclone” refers to their winds moving in a circle, whirling round their central clear eye, with their winds blowing counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere. The opposite direction of circulation is due to the Coriolis effect. Tropical cyclones typically form over large bodies of relatively warm water. They derive their energy through the evaporation of water from the ocean surface, which ultimately recondenses into clouds and rain when moist air rises and cools to saturation. This energy source differs from that of mid-latitude cyclonic storms, such as nor’easters and European windstorms, which are fueled primarily by horizontal temperature contrasts. Tropical cyclones are typically between 100 and 2,000 km (62 and 1,243 mi) in diameter.
The strong rotating winds of a tropical cyclone are a result of the conservation of angular momentum imparted by the Earth’s rotation as air flows inwards toward the axis of rotation. As a result, they rarely form within 5° of the equator. Tropical cyclones are almost unknown in the South Atlantic due to a consistently strong wind shear and a weak Intertropical Convergence Zone. Conversely, the African easterly jet and areas of atmospheric instability give rise to cyclones in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, while cyclones near Australia owe their genesis to the Asian monsoon and Western Pacific Warm Pool.
Coastal regions are particularly vulnerable to the impact of a tropical cyclone, compared to inland regions. The primary energy source for these storms is warm ocean waters. These storms are therefore typically strongest when over or near water, and weaken quite rapidly over land. Coastal damage may be caused by strong winds and rain, high waves (due to winds), storm surges (due to wind and severe pressure changes), and the potential of spawning tornadoes. Tropical cyclones also draw in air from a large area—which can be a vast area for the most severe cyclones—and concentrate that air’s water content (made up from atmospheric moisture and moisture evaporated from water) into precipitation over a much smaller area. This continual replacement of moisture-bearing air by new moisture-bearing air after its moisture has fallen as rain, may cause multi-hour or multi-day extremely heavy rain up to 40 kilometers (25 mi) from the coastline, far beyond the amount of water that the local atmosphere holds at any one time. This in turn can lead to river flooding, overland flooding, and a general overwhelming of local man-made water control structures across a large area.
Though their effects on human populations are often devastating, tropical cyclones can relieve drought conditions. They also carry heat energy away from the tropics and transport it toward temperate latitudes, which may play an important role in modulating regional and global climate.
Sure, it’s been busy lately, but the peak of the season has yet to begin. That peak happens mid-August to near the end of October. Right now Mother Nature is tapping the gas pedal, so to speak, before flooring it which happens in September.
Sure, it might not be the most active part of the season, but there have been notable tropical events that have happened around this time of year.
August is when Hurricane season starts to pick up steam
Here’s a look back at tropical events from late July into August:
July 30, 1975 was active for the panhandle. A tropical disturbance spawned several tornadoes that evening, luckily there were no serious injuries.
That wasn’t the case in 1933. The National Weather Service records show the morning of July 30 a hurricane moved in from the Atlantic and made landfall near Fort Pierce. This is when the storm took a crazy turn. It moved across the peninsula then exiting south of Tampa Bay in the Gulf of Mexico the afternoon of July 31. It didn’t stop there. In fact, the steering current took the storm across the gulf where it regained strength before it’s second landfall just south of Brownsville near Playa Lauro Villar in Tamaulipas. The storm claimed $2 million in crop damages in south Texas. Add that to damages in Florida, the Caribbean, and Mexico and it totaled $3 million in damages and claimed 39 lives.
In 1936, a tropical storm moved in from the Bahamas crossed extreme south Florida before moving into the Gulf of Mexico making a turn for the panhandle. The storm strengthened to hurricane status and then made landfall near Fort Walton Beach on July 31 early in the day. Storm surge reached 6 feet. Four people died.
A 19-year-old man drown in a rip current in Palm Beach on July 31 of 1995. The rip current was caused by swells from Hurricane Erin. The storm was just starting to reek havoc on the sunshine state and it’s residents. Hurricane Erin made landfall as a category 1 storm early in the day on Aug. 2 near Vero Beach. It then moved across the peninsula and into the Gulf of Mexico where the storm restrengthened. Erin was a Category 2 Hurricane as the eye wall moved ashore in Fort Walton Beach. It then weakened to a category 1 storm making landfall on Aug. 3 in Pensacola Beach. Sixteen lives were lost, nine in Florida.
Even in the late 1800s Floridians couldn’t catch a break during the first week of August and it wasn’t even designated Hurricane Season back then. Hurricanes on Aug. 1 in 1898 and 1899 took a total of 18 lives and seven ships. Twelve of those deaths were in the Apalachicola hurricane of 1898 which had two landfalls in the state that year.
Rounding Aug. 2 out there was Hurricane Celia in 1970. Although Celia didn’t make landfall in Florida, it still claimed lives here. Storm surge and swells battered the west coast of the peninsula killing eight people in the panhandle.
Technology has made leaps and bounds since a lot of these storms happened. There are better satellites to feed back data a lot faster than before. There’s even planes that fly into hurricanes to bring crucial data to meteorologists forecasting tropical systems. Read more about those here..
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