All Weather News

From Michael to Sandy: Notable Late Season Tropical Systems

10 Oct 2019, 12:00 pm

Image: Mexico Beach, FL had extreme damage in October 2018 after category 5 hurricane Michael hit the panhandle. 


When you think about hurricanes, you might think about them typically taking place in August or September.

But even with the climatological peak of hurricane season falling in the middle of September, powerful tropical systems can also take place in October or November.

The activity chart for tropical cyclones across the Atlantic during the calendar year between May and December. The peak of the season is during the second week of September.


In 2018, Florida panhandle residents received the harshest of reminders that Category 5 hurricanes can strike in mid-October. Hurricane Michael made landfall on Mexico Beach, Florida with 160 mph winds on October 10th, 2018.

Michael, however, is just one example of a number of destructive late season tropical systems. Sandy, Matthew, and Otto were a few other notable late season tropical systems to have big impacts. Meteorologist Chris Bianchi takes a look back at some of those notable storms, and the damage they caused.


Hurricane season officially ends on November 30th, though storms can (and occasionally do) form beyond that date.

In October, the Atlantic basin can spawn tropical systems nearly in all regions, from the Caribbean Sea, to the Gulf of Mexico, or along the eastern US coast. Though activity typically begins to diminish in the central and eastern Atlantic as activity begins to settle from the African coast. Often, systems can form along Fall fronts that come off the U.S. coast during the month of October.

As sea surface temperatures cool, and more upper level atmospheric features strengthen, the likelihood of tropical systems begin to diminish in November.

Stay with WeatherNation for the latest on the tropics through the remainder of hurricane season.


About the author
Chris doesn't remember a time when that he didn't love the weather. When he was five years old, he wrote his first words, "Partly cloudy", in Ms. Benn's kindergarten class. According to Chris, it's been a love affair ever since, from teaching himself how to read forecast models at age 12, to landing at WeatherNation. Growing up in Greenwich, Connecticut, he started to go after his lifelong drea... Load Morem of becoming a meteorologist by predicting whether or not there would be snow days - turning him into Greenwich High School's "defacto weatherman". He turned that snow day-predicting website into a front page story a local newspaper, which in turn earned him a look at WABC-TV in New York, where Chris did the weather live on-air at the age of 16. He attended Boston University, where he continued being a "weather nerd", performing weather updates on the campus radio and TV stations, and doing the daily forecasts for the student newspaper. Following his studies at BU, Chris worked at Mile High Sports and ESPN Denver for four years while pursuing his certification in Broadcast Meteorology from Mississippi State University. Chris is a huge sports fan, rooting for the Rockies, Nuggets, Broncos, Avalanche and UConn. He frequently find links between sports and weather, including an investigative analysis he did in 2013, finding trends between Peyton Manning's play and game time temperature (he doesn't like the cold). Chris also enjoys running, playing any sport, socializing and periodically overeating at all-you-can-eat buffets.

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