On Sunday 20 May, 2012 in the early evening Tropical Storm ALBERTO, the first-named tropical cyclone of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season is located to the northeast of Jacksonville, Florida and South of Charleston, South Carolina, with maximum sustained winds of 74 kph moving to the southwest. The storm is moving in an environment with low wind shear and it is forecast to make a 180 turn and head northeast within the next 24 hours, which will place on a track paralleling the coastline of the Carolinas. Alberto marks an early start for the Atlantic hurricane season that officially was set to start this coming 1 June 2012.
Farther south and east the Caribbean and west-central Atlantic are seeing quite a bit of tropical activity in the form of rain showers and thunderstorms that extend over Central America, the Antilles, Northern South America and a good portion of the eastern Pacific.
Still farther east, over the eastern Atlantic and western Equatorial Africa several tropical waves are present moving westward toward ‘Hurricane Alley‘. It would appear the ‘Tropical Wave Assembly Line‘ will continue to be fed from the Indian Ocean where several large cells of disturbed weather are aiming for the mainland of Africa.
Over the northern tropical Pacific there is a large cell of low pressure and stormy weather moving toward the Philippines over the northwestern Pacific, while off the western coast of Mexico to the south of Acapulco the persistent cell of low pressure that was chasing after now-defunct tropical storm Aletta, is still around showing some signs of organization.
In summary, the northern tropics appear to be quite active with ‘official’ 2012 hurricane seasons already under way in both the eastern North Pacific and the northern Atlantic, and plenty of disturbed weather and tropical activity over the various basins and sub-basins where cyclogenesis typically takes place. It seems it is just a matter of time until we see the first tropical cyclones of 2012 over the Central Atlantic and the Northwestern Atlantic, as well as the Northern Indian Ocean.
All interests in and around the various oceanic basins where tropical cyclones generate must remain prepared, paying attention to tropical developments as they are announced and monitored, and above all be ready to implement or deploy those mitigation measures that have been designed and installed with the objective of reducing the potential for damage to buildings and structures from the impact of tropical cyclones. These will be the times to emphasize the protection of life and property. In this regard we must all remain conscious of the fact that regardless of how active or inactive the annual season is forecast to be in a given basin, just one tropical cyclone is all that may be needed to cause loss of life, damage to property and untold human suffering!