Mutant Melissa forms in the central Atlantic Ocean

Posted at 10:21 AM, Nov 18, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-18 10:21:23-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Yep, it’s still tropical cyclone season in the Atlantic. Our hurricane season lasts through November 30. As if nature wishes to remind us of this fact, a mutant “Melissa” forms today with not entirely tropical characteristics.

On satellite, though, it has a large wing-span of cloud-cover over a huge chunk of the central Atlantic Ocean:

Subtropical Storm Melissa will not impact the U.S. as it curves through the central & north Atlantic Ocean this week.


So why is it a mutant system? It doesn’t have a true tropical low pressure center. It’s currently embedded within an upper-level, cold low pressure system. But there’s plenty of convection in the system, and it may mutate into a tropical storm. However, it only has about two days for that to happen before it encounters more wind shear to disrupt its organization. In addition, Melissa will track over the much colder waters of the north-central Atlantic Ocean. Then it could go back to being a subtropical or extra-tropical cyclone.

Additional updates can be found in the CBS 6 Hurricane Tracker.

So far this year, the Atlantic Basin has had two hurricanes (Humberto and Ingrid, both Category One systems, both in September), ten other Tropical Storms (Andrea, Barry, Chantal, Dorian, Erin, Fernand, Gabrielle, Jerry, Karen, and Lorenzo), one Subtropical Storm (Melissa), and one Tropical Depression (TD Eight).

That means although this year has had an average season for the number of named storms (10 is average), we are below-average for the number of hurricanes (6 is average), and we are below-average for the number of major hurricanes (2-3 is average).

It is notable that there have been no major hurricanes of Category 3 strength or stronger this year. You may remember 1994 was the last Atlantic hurricane season without a major hurricane. Since the satellite era, only 2013, 1994, 1986, and 1968 had no major hurricanes.

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Meteorologist Carrie Rose
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