Approaching the autumn equinox, we are just about halfway through the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June to December.
Pictured above is what Hurricane Alice looked like to meteorologists in December, 1954. This black-and white radar image, so stark compared to today's computer models and satellite imagery, still shows the swirling pattern and the eye of a hurricane.
Hurricane Alice was the second storm of that name in the 1954 hurricane season. It formed on December 30, 1954 and eventually dissipated on January 6, 1955, striking the Leeward Islands and the lesser Antilles in the Caribbean. It was classified as a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 90 mph. You can read more about it here.
So far, 2017 has been an active hurricane season. The waters in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico have been unusually warm, and this can give rise to more storms, and more severe storms.
So far this season there have been 11 named storms--Arlene to Katia, 6 hurricanes--Franklin, Gert, Harvey, Irma, Jose, Katia, 3 major hurricanes, at least Category 3 --Harvey, Irma and Jose, and 2 major hurricane landfalls on U.S. mainland--Harvey in Texas, and Irma in Florida.
At its height, Irma was a huge storm, a high-end Category 5 hurricane, with sustained winds of over 185 mph. On Wednesday, the clouds and light rain we experienced in the Chicago area were remnants of Hurricane Irma!
These are the names for the Atlantic storms NOAA has listed for 2017--
Right now, they are watching out for Hurricane Jose, as it approaches the US, causing high waves along Georgia and South Carolina coastline.
And there is a tropical system forming that may become storm Lee.
Update--As of Saturday afternoon, the NHC has announced that Tropical Storm Lee and Tropical Storm Maria have formed in the Atlantic. Maria is expected to strengthen to a hurricane.