First Hurricane Forms in Atlantic-Too Early to Write Off Hurricane Season for U.S.
September 11th, 2013
|* Hurricane Humberto has formed in the far eastern Atlantic Ocean. We came within 3 hours of setting a record for the latest (first) hurricane on record in the Atlantic basin.
* Humberto will not impact the USA– a series of vigorous cold frontal passages will insure a storm track over the North Atlantic.
* 8 tropical storms have formed so far in the Atlantic. Although total hurricane count will probably be lower than average, it’s still too early for complacency. There are numerous examples of other hurricane seasons that got off to a very slow start, but ramped up quickly in September and October.
* Greatest risk looking out 60+ days is probably Florida and Gulf Coast.
Hurricane Humberto. The storm is a minimal, Category 1 storm with sustained winds of 75-80 mph, much closer to Africa than the Caribbean at this hour. Saharan dust (and an unusual amount of dry air – coupled with above-average wind shear) has greatly reduced the number of storms in recent weeks. But as the financial industry is keen to point out “past performance is not a forecast of future results”. Things can turn on a dime in the Atlantic – the hurricane season is half over, but unusually warm Atlantic water may still spin up a series of storms in the coming 2 months.
5 Day Track. Our Alerts Broadcaster Dashboard shows a turn to the north, then west as Humberto weakens into a tropical storm, reaching the mid-Atlantic by early next week. A series of strong cold frontal passages sweeping out of Canada into the Northeast should inoculate the East Coast from any hurricane worries looking out 1-2 weeks.
Little Risk of USA Impact. Here are the extended track forecasts for Humberto, showing an eventual north/northeast turn as the storm gets nudged by cold fronts/wind shear blowing out of North America. I’m not concerned about Humberto impacting any U.S. or Caribbean facilities.
|Why It’s A Bit Premature For Hurricane Complacency. Although odds now favor fewer hurricanes in the Atlantic basin than average, due to a laundry list of meteorological factors (Saharan dust, more dry air, more wind shear, etc). a perpetual state of low-grade paranoia is probably warranted. There have been years that got off to a very slow start in August and early September, only to see a sudden spike in storm formation.”Gustav” didn’t develop into the first hurricane of the season until September 11, 2002. Later that year there were a total of 4 hurricanes.”Erin” became the Atlantic’s first hurricane on September 9, 2001. Later that season there were 9 hurricanes, 4 of them major Category 3+ storms.If history is a guide, as it should be, we should probably not lower our guard and state of hurricane readiness just yet.