Two full days of heavy rains have left the Tampa Bay and much of central to southern Florida feeling waterlogged with flood warnings posted over much of the area. The non-tropical low pressure system that brought the rain may be the closest thing to a tropical event the region gets in what was supposed to be an extremely active hurricane season. It is interesting to note that the system could develop into a tropical system after crossing Florida and getting into the Atlantic waters. Dr. Jeff Masters gives that a 20 percent chance of happening in his Tuesday blog entry on Weather Underground, while the National Hurricane Center is not even discussing such a possibility yet.
With another storm season heading for the home stretch and with fears of an especially destructive season seemingly overblown, at least for now, it's a good time to point out that the definition of what makes a "good" or "bad" season depends heavily on luck and location. The U.S. simply hasn't had much to worry about so far, but Mexico has been getting clobbered. For much of that country, especially the southern regions, this has been a terrible storm season. The attached video offers just a hint of how bad things have been, especially with the strange coincidence of storms coming ashore on the Pacific and Gulf coasts at almost the same time. Those kinds of nightmare scenarios are why emergency managers rely so much on the old adage "all it takes is one." One hurricane in the right (or wrong) place can turn a quiet storm season into an infamously bad one as happened in 1992 when Hurricane Andrew blazed a record-breaking path of destruction through south Florida and Louisiana.
For now (notice how that phrase keeps turning up?) everyone should relax and enjoy being relatively free of the threat of tropical weather. However, we should all remember how quickly that can change and plan ahead.