An unusual amount of 'dry air' over the traditional storm tracks from Western Africa into the Gulf of Mexico is responsible for the shortage of tropical storms and hurricanes affecting Texas weather this summer, according to research by Texas A&M climatologists, 1200 WOAI news reports.
Robert Korty of A&M's Department of Atmospheric Sciences says there have been an average of 11 named storms in the Atlantic and gulf this season, including Karen which is currently menacing the northern Gulf, which is about average for this time of year.
But he says all of the storms have either dissipated before coming ashore, or have come ashore with minimal force, something he credits to the dry air.
"If you had to point to one reason it would be dry air," Korty said. "The dry air coming across the Atlantic from Africa prevented a lot of storms from developing during august and the ones that did develop were not very strong. So the result has been a hurricane season of about normal in number of storms, but these have been relatively weak ones so far."
He says of the eleven storms, only two ever made it to hurricane force, and neither of them ever reached the U.S. coast.
The lack of hurricanes has left 'hurricane forecasters' red faced. Many predicted an 'above average' hurricane season.
While Texas could use the rain delivered by tropical systems, Korty says we only need to look to 2005, when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and Hurricane Rita slammed into Houston as a good reason why 'we have been very lucky this year.'