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Ripe Conditions for More Instances of Rapid Intensification of Storms in the Atlantic Ocean

4 weeks ago
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The official start of the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season is just days away. While hurricane experts have already predicted an active season, they are now warning that the year will also bring a higher chance of rapidly intensifying tropical weather events. Why are these types of events so dangerous? Read on for all of the details.

Understanding the Process of Rapid Intensification

Meteorologists are becoming more concerned that the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season could feature a number of rapidly intensifying storms. Tropical weather features that undergo the process of rapid intensification are more likely to cause a greater amount of damage and loss of life.

Rapid intensification is the scientific term that meteorologists use to categorize tropical storms and hurricanes that gain strength at a fast clip. In order to be put into this classification, a storm must pick up wind speeds of up to 35 mph in a period of 24 hours or less. Features that undergo this rate of intensification can quickly jump from a tropical depression to a hurricane.

The biggest danger of rapidly intensifying tropical weather events is that they do not allow for us much lead time for people in the path to prepare. It is difficult enough to predict when a storm will reach its peak and where it will make landfall. Storms that undergo rapid intensification complicate this forecasting even further.

Most hurricane experts advise that those residents in the potential cone of impact should prepare for any given storm to jump one level of categorization. For example, if your area is forecast to be hit by a tropical storm, you should prepare for impacts equivalent to a Category 1 hurricane. However, storms that happen to go through rapid intensification could jump more than one level.

Storms that are headed for more populated areas require a greater lead time to safely evacuate those in its path. For instance, a large metropolitan area such as Miami or New Orleans needs as much as 72 hours notice in order to assist with mandatory evacuations. Less populated areas are able to evacuate all of their residents more quickly. This makes rapidly intensifying storms headed to more densely populated regions the greatest danger.


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