Atlantic hurricane season is generally from mid-August to mid-October. They can wreak havoc in the Caribbean and North America. Recently, Hurricane Fiona passed through Puerto Rico and made landfall in Nova Scotia, Canada – one of the strongest storms on record.
These ancient hurricanes, or storms without the essential characteristics of a hurricane, also sometimes head towards Europe. And it was only recently that we knew why some ex-hurricanes could cross the Atlantic and others could not.
A new study published in the journal American Meteorological Society, Monthly weather review, reveals that more powerful hurricanes that are reactivated by jet streams are twice as likely to reach Europe. According to a press release, researchers analyzed hurricane data from 180 storms from the past 40 years, concluding that stronger storms have the greatest potential to cross the Atlantic.
“Ancient hurricanes are quite rare in Europe but can be deadly and destructive events, which makes it very important that we better understand why they arrive across the ocean,” says Elliott Sainsbury, director of the study. . researcher at the University of Reading, in a Press release. “Our research shows that stronger hurricanes and hurricanes that are reactivated by the jet stream over the Atlantic are much more likely to hit Europe. They apparently retain a memory of their strength in the tropics.”
When past hurricanes hit Europe, they can bring extreme winds and rainfall. And researchers also believe that warmer waters due to climate change could be a contributing factor.
“We have now established this remarkably strong link to hurricane strength. As stronger hurricanes may become more frequent due to climate change, we may also see more older hurricanes reaching Europe in the future. However, there are other factors to consider, and more research into this question is needed,” Sainsbury said in a press release.
Some of the strongest storms on record in Europe come from past hurricanes, according to a press release. It is common for Europe to be hit by a cyclone – a storm has formed over the South Pacific or the Indian Ocean – but about two ex-hurricanes reach Europe each year, according to a press release. These storms typically hit between August and November during peak hurricane season.
An example was Hurricane Ophelia in 2017. It set wind speed records in Ireland, killing three people. Hurricane Katia in 2011 caused over $100m (over £100m) in damage to Scotland.