Hurricanes keep showing up early — forecasts are catching up

A surfer crashes into the water as a subtropical approaches on Monday.
A surfer crashes into the water as a subtropical approaches in May 2018 in Pensacola, Fla. The storm gained the early jump on the 2018 hurricane season, which officially begins June 1.
Dan Anderson | AP Photo 2018

Last year was the sixth-straight year named tropical storms have formed in May, before the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season on June 1. And that has caused the National Hurricane Center to start releasing its tropical weather outlook two weeks earlier.

“We should all be prepared earlier. I think that’s the main thing,” said Suzana Camargo, the Marie Tharp Lamont research professor at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. “I don’t think we can yet make any clear connections with these earlier storms and climate change.”

But more severe flooding caused by storms and sea level rise, as well as more intense storms are linked to climate change, she said.

Camargo joined MPR News chief meteorologist and Climate Cast host Paul Huttner this week. Click play on the audio player above or subscribe to the Climate Cast podcast to hear the conversation.

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