Have you noticed there haven't been any hurricanes this year? It's hard to miss a palm tree floating down the middle of Collins Avenue, but there hasn't even been a 'cane that's petered out in the middle of the Atlantic. Are you now realizing an alarming absence of those awesome local TV news segments with closeups of empty shelves that used to host pallets of bottled water? When is the last time you were lulled to sleep by the sweet sounds of the Emergency Broadcast System test? Is your mind blown yet?
Finally the madness is ending, because meteorologists from the National Hurricane Center are saying Tropical Storm Humberto is poised to become a full-fledged hurricane later today. Right now, Humberto is chilling off the coast of Cape Verde, a ten-island nation about 350 miles off the coast of West Africa. It's moving toward us at 9 mph and continues to steadily strengthen.
Humberto is notable for illustrating how whacked-out this storm season has been. If predictions are correct, 2013 will just barely miss the record for the latest appearance of a first-of-the-season hurricane since the 1960s, when satellite imaging was developed to track storms. Gustav became the first hurricane of 2002 on September 11.
But what's particularly odd about not having had a storm yet is that the 2013 hurricane season began almost a full month early. While the first-named storm of the year typically happens around July 9, Andrea developed in the Gulf of Mexico by June 7.
Back in April, four independent groups predicted the 2013 season would be crazy for entirely different reasons. Forecasters thought there would be nine hurricanes, four of which would be major. They also said there was a 72 percent chance of a hurricane hitting the Atlantic coast.
Humberto will probably not be one that reaches shore. Cape Verde is pretty far away -- there's an entire swath of ocean to cross in the meantime. Tropical Storm Gabrielle is much closer to us and will probably pass over Bermuda tomorrow.