Here’s Why Central NY Should Worry about the South’s Extreme Heatwave
If you think the heatwave scorching the southern U.S. can't affect us, think again.
Central New York has largely been spared from the extreme heat that's creating dangerous conditions from California to Florida. Over 123 million Americans have been affected by this weather so far.
The heatwave smashed over 12,000 record-high temperatures across the southern half of the U.S. as it enters its 40th straight day -- and forecasters say there's no end in sight.
While this weather pattern is extremely concerning, experts say this bodes poorly for the rest of the U.S. - and that's why they're raising alarm over the potential ripple effect.
Hurricanes love hot water
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted back in May that we'd experience near-normal hurricane activity this year, but the extreme heat is shifting their outlook.
NOAA is now cautioning that the unrelenting heat could create a more volatile hurricane season.
"Given that we are in the thick of the Atlantic hurricane season and the tropical North Atlantic is already warm, extremely warm ocean temperatures in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico are concerning."
Ocean water temperatures surrounding Florida have hit the mid-90s, which is roughly 5 degrees warmer than what they should be at this time of year.
In fact, Florida normally doesn't enjoy bath-like ocean water until September, which is normally when hurricane season peaks.
Weather experts and climatologists are warning that these warmer-than-average ocean temperatures are creating the possibility of even more stronger, bigger and wetter storms.
Hurricanes draw their energy from warm water, so these temperatures will be like super-fuel for them.
Meaning, there's a real possibility we could see more storms like Sandy, Dorian and Irene forming later this year.
The forecast isn't all doom and gloom - it's just murky. Forecasters have been thrown off guard by these high ocean temperatures happening during El Niño, which is a system that tends to suppress hurricane activity.
With all that said, weather forecasters are feeling less confident in their prediction for the 2023 hurricane season.
Hurricanes in Central New York
Our area normally enjoys crazier winters than summertime weather events, but there have been instances of hurricanes visiting our area.
And when those storms do hit, they're normally weakened because they have no water to draw energy. Still, that doesn't mean we've never been hit by a catastrophic system.
Back in 1954, Hurricane Hazel made a significant impact in CNY. There was also Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
Additionally, all hurricane systems that veered toward Syracuse and Buffalo brought significant rainfall and flash flooding warnings with them. Tropical systems have the potential to douse an area with 5 to 10 inches of rain, on average.
Which could pose a significant problem this year, considering all the rain that has already saturated the ground.
The current hurricane season outlook
NOAA currently predicts the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season will produce 12 to 17 total named storms, which are systems that develop winds over 39 miles per hour.
Dillon Amaya, a climate scientist and research scientist at the NOAA Physical Sciences Laboratory, warned in a press release:
"No doubt, we're in hot water. In our 32-year record, we have never seen such widespread marine heatwave conditions."
But Amaya also notes El Niño is muddying the waters, leaving forecasters less confident in their 2023 hurricane season predictions.
"With an El Niño developing alongside these extreme ocean temperatures, there are competing influences on potential Atlantic hurricane intensity... Only time will tell whether one process dominates or if they will cancel each other out and we end up with an average hurricane season.”
In short, buckle up. We may be in for a bumpy (and wet) ride.