WRUF Weather

Should Floridians fear the “I” in Ingrid?

Storms that begin with the letter “I” haven’t been so nice to the United States lately.  In the past twelve years, five “I” storms have been so damaging that their names have been retired.  So now that WRUF Weather is currently tracking Ingrid over the Gulf of Mexico, coastal residents are likely wondering if it will be eying them as well.

Isidore, Isabel, Ivan, Ike, Irene, and Isaac all hit the United States, resulting in a combined $72 billion dollars of damage since 2001.  Isaac was the most-recent one, hitting last August and resulting in nine fatalities.  While this is likely just a coincidence, an “I storm – or the ninth one of the season – usually doesn’t form until later in the year when conditions are more favorable.

“Temperatures in the Atlantic Basin are usually a lot warmer in the latter months of the season,” says UF Meteorologist Jeff Huffman.  “Plus, dry air and wind shear – factors that suppress tropical cyclone development – tend to diminish by September and October.”

Even though Ingrid formed very close to land, it was the very warm waters over the Bay of Campeche that allowed it to quickly become the season’s second hurricane.  Ingrid, however, is not expected to hit the United States and remains largely a threat to Mexico.  The National Hurricane Center says “life-threatening flooding” could occur when the large, moisture-laden storm slowly comes ashore early in the week.

Meteorologist Huffman says that Floridians need to watch the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean closely over the coming weeks.

“We have a long way to go.  And just as [those areas] have storms frequently in the beginning of the season, they also tend to flare up at the end of the season.”

Huffman further added that the post-landfall remnant area of low pressure from Hurricane Ingrid may be forced back out over the Gulf of Mexico later this week, and it has a low chance of redeveloping as it heads east.  With over two months of the hurricane season still to go, there is still plenty of time for destructive storms to form.  And WRUF Weather will have updates on WRUF-TV at 20 past the hour, every day, every hour, until November 30.  Urgent tropical updates are also available on Twitter @WRUFWeather.

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