Tropical

First hurricane will be latest in season since at least 2002

The sluggish Atlantic hurricane season is likely to be the first since 2002 without a hurricane by September 1. So far this season there have been six relatively weak tropical storms, and no hurricanes. There are a couple of tropical waves that the National Hurricane Center is monitoring, but neither is expected to become a hurricane before the end of August.

A meager hurricane season so far - several named storms, but no hurricanes
A meager hurricane season so far – several named storms, but no hurricanes

The first hurricane of the season has formed on or after September 1 only 25 times in the past 161 years. Since the satellite era began in the mid-1960s, there have only been five years without a hurricane by August 31. The last time a hurricane failed to form before September 1 was in 2002 when Hurricane Gustav formed on September 11.

Year First hurricane Total hurricanes
2012 Chris – June 21 10
2011 Irene – August 22 6
2010 Alex – June 29 12
2009 Bill – August 17 3
2008 Bertha – July 7 8
2007 Dean – August 16 6
2006 Ernesto – August 27 5
2005 Cindy – July 5 15
2004 Alex – August 3 9
2003 Claudette – July 10 7
2002 Gustav – September 11 4
2001 Erin – September 8 9
2000 Alberto – August 5 8

While the late-arriving hurricane is a rarity, it may not be an indicator of how many storms will form before the end of the season. In 2001, Hurricane Erin formed on September 8 and was followed by eight more hurricanes before season’s end.

A big limiting factor this August was a lot of dry air and dust from the Sahara Desert in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean. As September nears, the dry air has moved far enough north to allow for some development of the tropical waves that are propagating westward off the coast of Africa.

Signs of life from the African wave train as September nears
Signs of life from the African wave train as September nears

The Right Weather Hurricane Season Outlook will be updated this weekend for Right Weather Pro members.

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Fred Campagna

President and Chief Meteorologist - Right Weather LLC AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist

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