WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

Is it true that some of the "subtropical" storms that have been named storms this season would not have been named in the past? I have heard a rumor that more storms are being named this season than would have been named earlier.

Posted October 20, 2007 11:20 a.m. EDT
Updated October 21, 2007 9:32 a.m. EDT

MIKE MOSS SAYS:     Wayne,     I'm doubtful that the National Hurricane Center is naming storms that do not legitimately meet the criteria for a named storm, if that is the gist of the rumor you're referring to. However, at the same time it is reasonable to think that some storms are named these days that would not have been named in the past, simply due to the increasingly sensitive instrumentation available to detect them. As satellite coverage, along with the range of instruments carried on satellites, has advanced, it makes it possible to obtain fairly accurate measurements remotely of the likely maximum wind speed of disturbances that may have been missed entirely in the days before satellites. Some others may have been underestimated in terms of intensity due to a less than classical appearance on satellite before some more advanced imagery analysis techniques and state of the art instruments were developed and flown. A final factor is the increased ability to determine, based on a developing understanding of the spectrum of storm organizational forms, when a storm has enought teopical characteristics to meet the "subtropical" definition, some of which may have simply been ignored in the past as a n extratropical system that would not have been named. All of this applies especially to storms that reach low-end tropical storm strength out at sea but then weaken or dissipate before reaching hurricane strength or making landfall somewhere.