Late-starting hurricane seasons

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:01 PM GMT on July 29, 2009

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Late-starting hurricane seasons--ones where the first named storm of the year doesn't occur until August--have happened in eleven of the fifty years between 1960 - 2009 (a 22% occurrence.) Only two of these eleven seasons ended up with more hurricanes than average (seven or greater). The record for the latest starting hurricane season since 1851 was set in 1914, when the only storm of the season formed on September 15. The year 1941 was also late starting, with the season's first storm arriving on September 11. Of course, we didn't have satellites back then, so it's a good bet there were storms earlier in these seasons that got missed. However, there's a good possibility that 1914 really did have only one storm. A re-analysis of the hurricane activity in the decade 1911-1920 (Landsea et al., 2008) found 1.3 missing tropical cyclones per year, thanks to the inclusion of a new database of ship weather reports called COADS. However, 1914 was not one of those years. Various authors have estimated that we missed an average of between one and three tropical cyclones per year during that time period, so it is quite possible 1914 had only one storm.


Figure 1. The hurricane season of 1914 featured only one tropical storm, and was the latest-starting hurricane season on record (September 15).

The latest dates for the first named storm of the season in the recent past, followed by the number of named storms, hurricanes, and intense hurricanes that year are:

2009 (August 15) 9,3,2
2004 (August 1) 15,9,6
2000 (August 4) 15,8,3
1988 (August 7) 12,6,3
1987 (August 9) 7,3,1
1984 (August 18) 13,5,1
1983 (August 15) 4,2,1
1977 (August 30) 6,5,1
1967 (August 30) 8,6,2
1963 (August 2) 9,6,2
1962 (August 22) 5,3,1

We can also add 1992 to the list if we ignore the unnamed subtropical storm that formed in April of that year. That year had the notorious Hurricane Andrew as its first named storm. Andrew formed on August 17 of that year, and was the only major hurricane in a year that had only seven named storms and four hurricanes. For comparison, an average Atlantic hurricane season has 10 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes. So, it is a good bet that 2009 will be a below-average season.

References
Landsea, C. W. , D. A. Glenn, W. Bredemeyer, M. Chenoweth, R. Ellis J. Gamache, L. Hufstetler, C. Mock, R. Perez, R. Prieto, J. Sanchez-Sesma, D. Thomas, and L. Woolcock, 2008, A Reanalysis of the 1911-20 Atlantic Hurricane Database", Journal of Climate, 21, p.2138-2168.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting HaboobsRsweet:
I got a feeling something will form in the Gulf before one of these African waves makes it all the way across and survives.

I tend to think it will be from a late Sept/Oct leftover frontal system in the Gulf that will form into something...
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to blog 1502 what about hurricane Allen???????
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I got a feeling something will form in the Gulf before one of these African waves makes it all the way across and survives.
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Quoting futuremet:
sigh...

It is not even active in the tropics, and yet 3 trolls are infiltrating.

poof 'em all...
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Sheri,

My best guess is a relatively low number of storms ( say 9 or less ) but more intense on a percentage basis ( say 3 majors, cat 5, 4 and 3 )due to high TCHP resulting from a lack of systems to create upwelling and reduced Easterly trade wind speeds.

Late starting seasons usually bring one or two nasty surprises.
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Quoting annjulie:
Tell me in 1980 when Mt. St. Helens blew what effect did it have on hurricane season?

Nothing really...There was Hurricane Allen that Hit Texas...cat 3

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Quoting hurricane23:


Not sure Sheri....slightly below normal activity seems like a good bet.To be completely honest, I have not had the time to analyze the necessary data in order to give you a detailed answer to your question. I have been so overwhelmed with other responsibilities and personal matters. That being said, this particular El Nino event is more likely to resemble the 2006 event more so than the 2004 one. Since the beginning of the peak months of the season are still roughly 3 weeks away (typically around August 15), it is still too early to know how many (if any) hurricanes will make a U.S. landfall during the 2009 season. My best guess is that we will see increased TC activity as we get ever closer to the peak of the season (coinciding with more favorable conditions in the MDR)...but it is highly unlikely that this activity will resemble the 2004 season in terms of either total hurricanes or U.S. landfalls. Adrian


Adrian, Thanks. I hope things get better for ya.

Sheri
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sigh...

It is not even active in the tropics, and yet 3 trolls are infiltrating.
Member Since: July 19, 2008 Posts: 43 Comments: 4051
Quoting kmanislander:


Not yet but if the trolls persist I may have to preserve my sanity


tell me where they live and ill go throw cow patties on their roofs
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Quoting catastropheadjuster:
Did every one leave?

Sheri


Not yet but if the trolls persist I may have to preserve my sanity
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Quoting stormsurge39:
Has anybody read what accuweather has said about 65w wave?

We don't use that language in here.
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Again it comes down to luck and chance at where the long wave pattern just happens to be when a hurricane just happens to come along.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13786
Did every one leave?

Sheri
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Quoting catastropheadjuster:


Hey H23, Long time no see. What cha think about the tropics?

Sheri


Not sure Sheri....slightly below normal activity seems like a good bet.To be completely honest, I have not had the time to analyze the necessary data in order to give you a detailed answer to your question. I have been so overwhelmed with other responsibilities and personal matters. That being said, this particular El Nino event is more likely to resemble the 2006 event more so than the 2004 one. Since the beginning of the peak months of the season are still roughly 3 weeks away (typically around August 15), it is still too early to know how many (if any) hurricanes will make a U.S. landfall during the 2009 season. My best guess is that we will see increased TC activity as we get ever closer to the peak of the season (coinciding with more favorable conditions in the MDR)...but it is highly unlikely that this activity will resemble the 2004 season in terms of either total hurricanes or U.S. landfalls. Adrian
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13786
1478. catastropheadjuster 1:58 AM GMT on July 31, 2009

A different world indeed. Icy Strait and Skagway have a resident population of about 800 each but Skagway rises to about 2500 in the tourist season which is now.

No roads into or out of these areas. The last frontier.
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1480. JustWx
Now poetry is taking a beating
The wishcasters have found their unseating
While we rhyme as we lurk
They call us a jerk
But why cant this shear start retreating.
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Quoting STORMTOPSGRANDMA:


the whole family will be on in a few days. i just need to teach them where the "start" button tab is on the computer.

Quoting kmanislander:


Just fabulous. Unlimited food on the ship ( which I stayed away from ) and unlimited booze which, well, you get the picture LOL.


Your pictures are awsome. I bet it was beautiful. We have a good friend of my hubbies dad that lives in Alaska. Ms Lisa loves it. She's from Alabama she's here right know. but going back in a few months. She says life is so different up there.

Sheri
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1477. hahaguy
Quoting kmanislander:


1453 handle


LOL.
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Quoting WxLogic:


Unfortunately a "when" can't be given... but I can tell you that once you start seeing that SAL decreasing you'll starting seeing more healthier wave coming out of Africa and maintaining themselves then you'll know the season should start picking up.

Climatological speaking... it should start in should be getting busy between August and September.
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1474. WxLogic
Quoting troy1993:
Ok i want a well-respected blogger who is reasonable... when is the tropical activity in the Atlantic going to start to pick up?!


Unfortunately a "when" can't be given... but I can tell you that once you start seeing that SAL decreasing you'll starting seeing more healthier wave coming out of Africa and maintaining themselves then you'll know the season should start picking up.

Climatological speaking... it should start in should be getting busy between August and September.
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Quoting hahaguy:


Did I miss something? lol.


1453 handle
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Quoting catastropheadjuster:


Hopefully he don't have a daddy and brother and sisters or step.

Hey Kman, glad to see ya back. Hope ya enjoyed your trip.

Sheri


Just fabulous. Unlimited food on the ship ( which I stayed away from ) and unlimited booze which, well, you get the picture LOL.
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stormtop is right
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Quoting hurricane23:


Hey sheri!


Hey H23, Long time no see. What cha think about the tropics?

Sheri
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1467. hahaguy
Quoting kmanislander:
Not to mention talking underwear LOL


Did I miss something? lol.
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Quoting kmanislander:


Briefly if I recall correctly. Hopefully the entire family will not post as well.We already have a grandma and mom !!


Hopefully he don't have a daddy and brother and sisters or step.

Hey Kman, glad to see ya back. Hope ya enjoyed your trip.

Sheri
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Not to mention talking underwear LOL
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Quoting IKE:


It is stormtop....



OOPS I guess I am the slow one tonight. I guess put 2 and 2 together. Thanks Ike.

Sheri
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Ok i want a well-respected blogger who is reasonable... when is the tropical activity in the Atlantic going to start to pick up?!
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Quoting IKE:


Was he on here last night? He/she/them?


Briefly if I recall correctly. Hopefully the entire family will not post as well.We already have a grandma and mom !!
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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