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Late-starting hurricane seasons

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

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


The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

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Did you all like my idea of telling StormW to take a week off before the real season starts...lol
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Quoting WxLogic:
Hi Kman...


Hi there

What's up ??. The tropics are still quiet although I still think the CATL wave might try to do something near 50W. The Caribbean wave is losing the shear battle.
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Quoting mrnicktou:


I went 16 days without electricity from Ike and my buckeyes were playing USC the very next day after the hurricane that was the only painful thing.

I wish my power had been out for that game :(
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1407. WxLogic
Hi Kman...
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Good evening folks

I have uploaded a few pics from our stop in Juneau on the Alaska trip. These focus on the Mendenhall glacier so please stop by to see some blue ice.

Tomorrow I will upload some of the hump back whale pics from Juneau and that will be the end of the Alaska trip .
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1405. aquak9
ahhh...sweetheart...times they are a'changing...
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Quoting mrnicktou:


I went 16 days without electricity from Ike and my buckeyes were playing USC the very next day after the hurricane that was the only painful thing.


In that case I am glad you are still here to share with us, but many have been through the aftermath and I truly wish that you never have to see what conditions can be like in the aftermath if you survive the storm. With best regards, just watch from afar and learn...and be safe!
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1402. boyzNme
Quoting mrnicktou:


I sat through Ike last year and I want to sit through a bigger hurricane. I've just been so fascinated by them since I was little I want to be in a bad hurricane some day.


Take it from Homelesswanderer and the rest of us that have had to sit through them, no you don't!!
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Quoting druseljic:


It's not a pleasant experience by any means, its alot more than the thrill of seeing the winds and rain...Imagine no power for a week, no AC, no stores open, no gas...

That's the reality of it and it aint pretty. Check out some of the stories of the Katrina or Rita survivors (or any of the other majors) and ask them if its any fun...

Be glad you haven't been in one...


I went 16 days without electricity from Ike and my buckeyes were playing USC the very next day after the hurricane that was the only painful thing.
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1400. aquak9
stormtop and the two-tone talk, back to back....I think my eyes are bleeding...
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I just need coastal NC to be clear 9/4-9/5. Hurricanes ok all other times.
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Quoting mrnicktou:


I sat through Ike last year and I want to sit through a bigger hurricane. I've just been so fascinated by them since I was little I want to be in a bad hurricane some day.


It's not a pleasant experience by any means, its alot more than the thrill of seeing the winds and rain...Imagine no power for a week, no AC, no stores open, no gas...

That's the reality of it and it aint pretty. Check out some of the stories of the Katrina or Rita survivors (or any of the other majors) and ask them if its any fun...

Be glad you haven't been in one...
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
If you are wishing for something like that obviously you have a few loose screws. Going through a bad hurricane is a devastating and life changing experience.


like not i mean i don't want people to die or anything but i want to be in a bad hurricane i dont think that gives me a few loose screws
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1396. IKE
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1395. WxLogic
Good interview StormW is having... nice to place a voice to StormW... hehe.
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Btn...thanks for that reminder...
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1391. BtnTx
StormW is going to be on Barometer Bob show real soon.
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....it's baaaaaaaaaaaaack...
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Quoting mrnicktou:


I sat through Ike last year and I want to sit through a bigger hurricane. I've just been so fascinated by them since I was little I want to be in a bad hurricane some day.
If you are wishing for something like that obviously you have a few loose screws. Going through a bad hurricane is a devastating and life changing experience.
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1388. IKE
AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAN JUAN PR
444 PM AST THU JUL 30 2009

.DISCUSSION...TROPICAL WAVE PASSING SOUTH OF THE LOCAL ISLANDS
LATE THIS AFTERNOON TO EXIT THE REGIONAL WATERS TONIGHT/EARLY
OVERNIGHT HOURS. AFTERWARD...A DRYING TREND WILL TAKE OVER THE
LOCAL AREA THROUGH THE WEEKEND WITH PULSES OF LOW LEVEL MOISTURE
ADVECTING TOWARD THE ISLANDS FROM TIME TO TIME TO PRODUCE ISOLATED
TO SCATTERED SHOWERS ACROSS PARTS OF THE ISLANDS.

A MODERATE AFRICAN DUST EPISODE WILL ENTER THE FORECAST AREA BEGINNING
FRIDAY AFTERNOON INTO SATURDAY...AHEAD OF THE NEXT TROPICAL
WAVE LOCATED NEAR 36/37 WEST. THIS WAVE IS EXPECTED TO ARRIVE
ACROSS THE LOCAL ISLANDS ON SUNDAY AND EXPECTED TO EXIT THE
DISCUSSION AREA ON MONDAY.

OTHER THAN THOSE WAVES MENTIONED ABOVE...NO SIGNIFICANT WEATHER
EVENT EXPECTED FOR THE NEXT FIVE TO SEVEN DAYS.
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The two tone talk
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Quoting druseljic:


Every once in a while when I refresh it tells me the blog has NO ENTRIES...lol! Something must be up...this blog with no entries in July/August...hmmm
just hit refresh, then the blog reappears w/out signing back in
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Quoting StormW:


Hot pink!


Lurker...I'll go Puple and Gold....Geaux Tigers!
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1383. TayTay
Should be a stormchaser.
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Golly Gee... its cooler today.

Weather Underground PWS IBCVICTO20
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Hey Student, what's your take on the NHC's reversal on the El Nino impact on Atlantic Basin storm formation?
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Quoting homelesswanderer:


Ah yes, that was the leftover TS Edouard. Lets hope none of them get worse than that this year. :)


I sat through Ike last year and I want to sit through a bigger hurricane. I've just been so fascinated by them since I was little I want to be in a bad hurricane some day.
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Quoting troy1993:
Are you trying to make a point by posting all these models? Just because they dont show anything doesnt mean nothing wont form.

So very true, I'm sick of hearing model consensus, what happened to good ole weather forcasting , don't exist much anymore , man have become to dependent on machine brains, garbage in , garbage out, sorry just had to vent, I know models can be used for guidance and are fairly accrate track wise other than that, many have become to dependent on them and regard them as gospel.
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Quoting stormpetrol:
Does anyone else have problems having to sign in everytime they want to post, this happens to me occasionally. 5.


Every once in a while when I refresh it tells me the blog has NO ENTRIES...lol! Something must be up...this blog with no entries in July/August...hmmm
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Quoting mrnicktou:


That would be awsome my bday is Aug 5th and last year we had a depression hit houston it was a great bday

yea maybe but you be careful on what you say or wish a friend said (it would be cool if a hurricane came to cayman) and Ivan came then he said (it would be cool if a weak earthquake )and an earthquake came so just be careful!
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Comments on the Eastern Carib Wave. It has upper and lower level divergence and looks like vorticity is decent. It also looks like shear is moving west away from it. Comments? Earlier in the week the NAM had a low pressure system in the Carribbean.
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Quoting mrnicktou:


That would be awsome my bday is Aug 5th and last year we had a depression hit houston it was a great bday


Ah yes, that was the leftover TS Edouard. Lets hope none of them get worse than that this year. :)
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Are you trying to make a point by posting all these models? Just because they dont show anything doesnt mean nothing wont form.
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Quoting WeatherStudent:


:(

WS, we need patrap to post an image of the lawnmower. nuthin
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Hey Keeper. Tropics are a little weak, don't you think?
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Quoting stormpetrol:
Does anyone else have problems having to sign in everytime they want to post, this happens to me occasionally. BTW, the wave in the Eastern Caribbean looking very impressive. I'm going out a limb and say we'll have a named system in the atlantic or caribbean by Aug. 5.


That would be awsome my bday is Aug 5th and last year we had a depression hit houston it was a great bday
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1366. pottery
Some heavy rain and black sky over Trinidad this afternoon. Another session on the way in a couple hours.
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Quoting stormpetrol:
Does anyone else have problems having to sign in everytime they want to post, this happens to me occasionally. BTW, the wave in the Eastern Caribbean looking very impressive. I'm going out a limb and say we'll have a named system in the atlantic or caribbean by Aug. 5.


Site is acting up, and yes, I've noticed the Carribean wave flare up.
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Does anyone else have problems having to sign in everytime they want to post, this happens to me occasionally. BTW, the wave in the Eastern Caribbean looking very impressive. I'm going out a limb and say we'll have a named system in the atlantic or caribbean by Aug. 5.
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1363. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
000
ABNT20 KNHC 302330
TWOAT
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
800 PM EDT THU JUL 30 2009

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER BLAKE


nuttin
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Quoting IKE:


Odds are....yes. Don't take my word at it...just a blogger. Trust the experts.


Like me of course. Bama, LSU, Auburn, Florida?
What is your choice? They should name hurricanes after colleges': here comes hurricane Nick! LOL
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Cat 6 lead authors: WU cofounder Dr. Jeff Masters (right), who flew w/NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990, & WU meteorologist Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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