, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 91-103
Date: 29 Nov 2006

Storms of tropical origin: a climatology for New York State, USA (1851–2005)

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Abstract

The tropical storm database used in this study was obtained from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Coastal Service Center, using the Historical Hurricane Tracks tool. Queries were used to determine the number of storms of tropical origin that have impacted the State and each of its counties. A total of 76 storms of tropical origin passed over New York State between 1851 and 2005. Of these storms, 14 were classified as hurricanes. The remaining hurricanes passed over New York State as weaker or modified systems—27 tropical storms, 7 tropical depressions, and 28 extratropical storms (ET). Long Island experiences a disproportionate number of hurricanes and tropical storms. The average frequency of hurricanes and storms of tropical origin (all types) is one in every 11 years and one in every 2 years, respectively. September is the month of greatest frequency for storms of tropical origin, although the storms of greatest intensity tend to arrive later in the hurricane season and follow different poleward tracks. While El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycles appear to show some influence, the frequency and intensity of storms of tropical origin appear to follow a multidecadal cycle. Storm activity was greatest in both the late 19th and 20th centuries. During periods of increased storm frequency and intensity storms reached New York State at progressively later dates. While the number and timing of storms of tropical origin is likely to increase, this increase appears to be attributed to a multidecadal cycle, as opposed to a trend in global warming.