June 1st is an important date in the weather calendar, as far as extreme weather goes. Not only is it New Zealand’s official beginning to winter, but it’s also the official beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season… producing storms such as Andrew, Katrina and Wilma.
While hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones affect much of the globe it’s the incredible news coverage from Central and Northern America that seems to make the headlines.
And although the hurricane season officially kicks off June 1st, it was May 31st that saw the first named tropical storm of the 2008 season. Tropical Storm Arthur formed east of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula – a popular tourist spot. You might remember the name of this region, hit by last years monster Category 5 Hurricane Dean.
The Atlantic Hurricane season runs for 181 days and 1 day before it even started the first storm was named. Of course, that doesn’t mean a thing. 2005, the year that made Katrina, was the stormiest season ever. The following year doom and gloom was predicted…almost no hurricanes made landfall. It was a similar story last year and that’s prompted our weather partner, Weather.com (based in Atlanta, Georgia) to run a special story on locals who may have let their guard down for this year. Time will tell if this years season, predicted to be active, will result in direct hits to soil, or stay off shore.
If an active season affects the Gulf of Mexico be prepared for yet another jump in oil prices. There are thousands of oil rigs in the Gulf, after Katrina 20 went missing (seriously!) including 1 which was blown up a river in Mobile, Alabama – getting jammed under a bridge! Over 100 were badly damaged and it sent oil prices rocketing.
Meanwhile back in New Zealand and the first day of winter has been a relatively quiet one. A small low forming over central New Zealand will likely see some squally showers with isolated thunderstorms over the next 24 hours.