Monday, September 09, 2013

Potential Benchmarks for Hurricane Season 2013

Tomorrow is the peak of hurricane season. Despite all the forecasts for an active season, thankfully so far, that has not panned out as the first hurricane of the season has yet to occur.  It's pretty rare to go this late into the season without one.  Here are some dates to keep an eye on over the next few days.

Longest until first hurricane in a season.

1984- Sept. 9th
1937 - Sept. 10th
2002 - Sept. 12th
1912 - Sept. 12th
1922 - Sept. 15th
1941- Sept. 21st
1905 - Oct. 8th

Going back to 1900, only once has there not been a hurricane in the month of August and September.  That would be quite an exceptional feat, if this would happen to occur.  In the recon flight era, which goes back to 1944, the latest first hurricane is 2002 (Gustav).  In addition, only twice sine 1900 has there been a season with no hurricanes at all.  That was in 1907 and 1914.

Another possibility this year is to not have a major hurricane make landfall in the U.S.  If it happens, it will mark a streak of seven straight years.  That would tie the record for the longest span.  Hurricane Wilma in 2005 was the last major hurricane to hit the U.S.  The previous span was from 1861-1867.  While that may seem like a good thing, we all know that sometimes, as in the case of Sandy, it doesn't take a highly ranked Saffir-Simpson storm to cause a high level of impact.

So, is there any potential for a hurricane in the next week or so?  Tropical Storm Humberto was designated at 5 AM out in the far, far eastern Atlantic...very close to the African coastline.  The National Hurricane Center outline below shows the modeled track for the storm over the coming days...and they believe that the storm has a shot of becoming a hurricane before all is said and done. That transition to hurricane strength could occur as early as Wednesday.

Regardless of what happens with Humberto, it's very likely not to have an impact on the US given its modeled tendency to turn to the north at a very eastern longitude. Very little guidance suggests the storm even makes it to 50 degrees west -- just a few ensemble modeling runs of the GFS. The vast majority of guidance keeps it way, way, east of us.

If you're going to get a hurricane *this* year, it may as well be one that impacts very few and stays out in the middle of the Atlantic.