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November hurricane outlook

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 2:14 PM GMT on November 01, 2005

November is here. What kind of activity can we expect this month from the busiest hurricane season on record? Historically, only about 5% of all Atlantic tropical storm activity occurs after November 1. Between 1871 and 2004, 57 tropical storms have formed in November. Of these, 28 became hurricanes, and four of these, major hurricanes. So on average, one tropical storm forms in November every other year, and we can expect a November hurricane about one year in four. Given that this is no ordinary year, the chances of getting a November storm are much higher than average. The Caribbean continues to be dominated by a deep layer of winds from the east from the surface to the upper Troposphere, conditions that mean low wind shear and a favorable environment for tropical storm formation. This deep easterly flow is forecast to continue for at least the next week, so we will have to watch all the tropical disturbances that may form in the Caribbean. There is a tropical disturbance just south of Hispanolia to watch today, but this disturbance is struggling with a lot of dry air being wrapped into it by an upper-level low pressure system just west of Hispanolia, and no tropical storm formation is likely through tomorrow in the Atlantic.

Farther north, in the Gulf of Mexico and Bahamas, strong westerly winds characteristic of the typical Fall weather regime over North America have settled in, making tropical storm formation unlikely in this area. As we can see from Figure 1 below, the central and southern Caribbean are the primary breeding grounds for November tropical cyclones in the Atlantic. Here, the ocean temperatures remain warmest the longest. The typical way a tropical storm develops in November is that a cold front pushes off the coast of North America, and its tail end remains over the southwest Caribbean. The remains of the cold front have a little bit of spin, and this area festers over the warm Caribbean waters for three to five days, and finally organizes into a tropical storm.

Figure 1. Preferred formation area and tracks for November tropical cyclones.

Historical November tropical cyclones
The most extraordinary November hurricanes was "Wrong-Way Lenny", which affected the northern Leeward Islands as a strong Category 4 hurricane with peak winds of 155 mph on November 17-18, 1999. Lenny was the first storm to have an extended west-to-east track across the central and eastern Caribbean Sea in the 135-year Atlantic tropical cyclone record, and was the strongest November hurricane on record. Hurricane Gordon was the deadliest November hurricane. It claimed 1122 lives in Haiti when it passed just west of the country as a tropical storm on November 13, 1994. Lenny claimed six lives in Costa Rica, five in the Dominican Republic, two in Jamaica, two in Cuba, and eight in Florida. Property damage to the United States was estimated at $400 million (1994 dollars), and was severe in Haiti and Cuba as well.

Three November hurricanes have hit the U.S.--an unnamed 1916 Category 1 hurricane that hit the Florida Keys, an unnamed 1925 Category 1 hurricane that struck Sarasota, Florida, and Hurricane Kate, which struck the Florida Panhandle on November 22, 1985.

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

First! Hi everyone. Rainy dreary day in the Florida Panhandle.
good morning....sunny here on the Space coast for now...rain to move in later this morning and afternoon
Hi Gbreeze, you have the rain now and we are supposed to get it tonight. I will be happy. Put in plugs of grass where sod webworms ate their fill this summer, so the rain will be great. I just hate for south Florida to have to deal with one more problem. Have a terrific day.
Dr. Masters,
Thank you for the November tropical outlook. Interesting to note the three November hurricanes that hit the US all struck Florida. We Floridians must remain vigilant!
Good informative post, Dr. Masters. Now that all records seem to have been broken, maybe things can quiet down allowing the storm-ravaged areas around the Gulf and Caribbean to rebuild and recover.
good morning everyone.
Great, so the only US landfall tropical systems in November hit FL? Thats not fair.. :-)
Hiya gbreezegirl,
Yes, nice to finally not have to water the plants and palm trees here on the beach! Nice to have this cool front cool down the gulf, it is getting nippy out there. Great day all.
oh, its cloudy here...SHhhh 65, I rode my bike, taking it home at 10:30, but please rain, stay gone till then... :-)
radar ok...for now....Link
no rain for stormy!!
stormy, you've got mail......and today it is my day to leave early, I am out of here at noon :-)
okay, riding my bike home...I'll be back this PM...enjoy the afternoon off 65 (its nice isn't it!) :-)
stormy, have a good afternoon as well, and yes, it is nice!! :-)
if any one is on her can some one tell me what dos the United Nations World Meteorological Organization mean and where are they at?
Hi all, had alot of rain about 2AM and the electricity got iffy for a good long while... talk about an anxiety attack... all we need id to lose power again... ugh... and go into the cycle... we've been so blessed so far...
Went to a therapy dog visit last evening over in Coconut Grove and driving back and forth was really weird, going between areas of pitch black and all lights. And weaving through piles of debris everywhere. Although they've done a really good job in our immediate area. Guess when the neighbors show initiative they come in and back it up or something...
Now, as for this last month of hurricane season...
8888, sorry, no clue
88888 here is a Link for the WMO
8888 here is a link i found
Found a great official link on Wilma here: Link

Go down to the bottom, under the main satellite view of Wilma and click on additional images. Bunch of great pics there. I now have a new desktop. :-)

whoohoo, fire season is offically over for us.
Death to all Carribean blobs!
Here is an interesting link to Mexico and the effect Wilma had on that area. It also shows the tremendous recovery effort that is going on in Yucatan. Link
windnwaves - hahahahha :) You tell that youngster! Your sarcasm is well deserved.

I'm sitting here on the beach on Roatan. FYI this means I'm on a Bay island right off the northern coast of Honduras where that red blob is on the sat photos right now. I've lived here for seven years and watched storms brew out there pretty often this time of year.

It's been raining in buckets all day--winds are high and gusty. Sky is VERY dark. Rain and winds come in waves that are VERY strong--then it's just dead calm.

This feels just like Wilma did coming in a few weeks ago. Actually the rain has been heavier the past three days than it was with Wilma.

Are you sure we're not brewing her evil sister right off my beach out there?

How can you be so sure there's no chance for a TS to form tonight? Could you explain this to me better? Please? 'Cause my suddenly aching, steel-plated leg just isn't buying it yet.

Thanks in advance for your attention to our little stormy spot in the sea!

Waylon Sims,Owner
Coral Beach Inn
Roatan, B.I.
BayIslandsInn, I tried your URL, doesn't want to work.
Can you double check it?
caneman, I echo your sentiments!!! DIE BLOBS DIE!!!
There is a cbeachinn@aol.com with the website www.coralbeachinn.com
oops... that was for fast5
Hydrocvl, Thanx, that was it.
Coral Beach Inn

Sorry Hills,
I'm messing up your blog with practice.
I remember Gordon well. It parked over us in East Central Florida for more than a day and rained the whole time. Needless to say, we had some flooding. Gordon is an example that something that is "only" a tropical storm can be very nasty indeed.
Dr Masters you forgot the 1935 hurricane that hit Miami in November 1935 with a 973 mb pressure.