While the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season does not officially begin until June 1st, forecasters expect there to be slightly above-normal activity, particularly increased formation of storms in the Gulf of Mexico. What is a cause for concern is not so much the number of named storms making landfall in the southeast United States, but the increasingly warm water temperatures in the Gulf and the Atlantic Ocean. Warmer waters fuel the intensity of hurricanes and thus can lead to devastating effects. This was evident in Hurricane Harvey being an extremely wet storm, flooding several miles and counties in the area surrounding Houston, Texas. Researchers at Colorado State University say that near-record breaking warmth in 2017 contributed to the recipe for powerful storms. The effects of a recent El Nino also play a role. While it causes warmer water in the eastern Pacific Ocean, it does have widespread effects on the global climate such as increased winds in the tropical Atlantic. For those of us in Florida or any other state susceptible to hurricanes, we may not want to let our guard down.
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