Mini-Marco…You call this a tropical storm?

Tropical Storm Marcho

Tropical Storm Marcho

The 13th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season was identified on Monday.  “Marco” is way down in the southern Gulf of Mexico’s Bay of Campeche, and it’s tiny!  One meteorologist at the National Hurricane Center wrote this evening, “Marco may be the smallest tropical cyclone on record.”  With tropical storm winds extending out from the center for just 30 miles, winds to 65 mph and the potential for 2-4″ of rain, Marco is really nothing more than a couple thunderstorm clusters trying to rotate around a common center point.  Clusters of thunderstorms that form right here in the mid Atlatntic are frequently more impressive than this mini-storm.  Which leads one to wonder if some creative storm searching is going on at the National Hurricane Center.

Prior to the start of the hurricane season on June 1st, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast a 65% chance of above normal storm activity this year, with 12-16 named storms, 6-9 hurricanes and 2-5 major hurricanes.  With Marco as the 13th storm, their forecast has verified.  We have seen 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes so far…the season ends on November 30th.  But without the last two storms they would still be short of the forecast, and these last two have been somewhat of a stretch.  Laura lasted for just over 48 hours and was a “sub-tropical storm” for nearly half of that time, meaning it did not technically meet tropical storm qualifications.  Marco is so small you can hardly find it among other thunderstorms clusters over Mexico.  When the same folks who make the forecast get to decide what storms qualify, it calls into question the motives behind naming storms like Laura and Marco.

Tom Tasselmyer

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