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Will an African Thunderstorm Ruin Your Hawaiian Vacation?
August 23, 2014 9:45 PM

So love this story:

You've probably heard the old adage that if a butterfly flaps its wings in China, it can cause a tornado in Kansas, or something like that.

Well, have you heard the one about how if it rains in Africa, a tropical storm hits Hawaii?

It turns out that one is true.

Read on, oh fellow Weather Geeks...read on:

From April to October, this jet becomes a conveyor belt of sorts, dragging thunderstorms and low pressure troughs west every few days and shoving them into the Atlantic Ocean.

Many meteorologists call this the "wave train." And when it's particularly active, satellite photos show large clumps of clouds lining up across Africa and the Atlantic. These waves create more than half of all tropical storms and weak hurricanes in the Atlantic and about 85 percent of all the "major" storms of Category 3 or greater, according to research by Chris Landsea, science and operations officer at the National Hurricane Center.

About 60 of these tropical waves form every spring and summer, and most never become tropical systems. The 30-year average is for 12 tropical storms and hurricanes to form each season in the Atlantic. However, some waves get a second chance after they cross Central America and find themselves in a new ocean -- the Pacific.

Time to go check the National Hurricane Center!


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