Ask the meteorologists: how’s the Atlantic hurricane season going this year? | State and Region

A: The Atlantic hurricane season is now over two months old and has so far been fairly calm with just three storms, all in the weaker tropical depression category. This may well have been the case in the summer and fall of 1492 as well.

Interestingly, among the seemingly endless list of superstitions and fantastical lies that surrounded voyages of exploration in the Age of Discovery – ranging from sea serpents of all kinds to boiling waters near the equator – there there was no mention of hurricanes. This is obviously because no European had yet witnessed (and could imagine) the foaming seas, with towering 100-foot waves, that these ferocious storms can create.

Columbus set sail on August 3, 1492, from Palos de la Frontera and sailed off the coast of Spain a few days later. It reached the Bahamas in the early days of October, meaning it passed through the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season without incident. Twenty-seven years later, on August 10, 1519, Ferdinand Magellan’s fleet of five ships set sail from Seville on what would become the first circumnavigation of the globe. Magellan’s route also took him across the tropical Atlantic at the height of hurricane season and, again, without incident.

Thus, the relatively inactive Atlantic hurricane season this year is not unusual and may end up reminiscent of other inactive seasons in the past, during which one could say the stakes were quite high.

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