Menu

WEATHER

Humberto May Defend an Atlantic Hurricane Season Record

Whether or not the record holds for the latest first Atlantic hurricane is up to Humberto, currently a strengthening tropical storm.

Since the satellite era began during the early 1960s, the latest the first hurricane of the season formed was 2002's Gustav on Sept. 11. Gustav was upgraded from a tropical storm to a minimal hurricane that Wednesday midday, shortly after 8:00 a.m. EDT.

Meanwhile, there have been no hurricanes thus far during the 2013 season in the Atlantic. However, Humberto, near the Cape Verde Islands Monday has a chance at becoming a hurricane during the middle of this week.

If Humberto strengthens to a hurricane and does so before Wednesday midday, the late-forming hurricane record will remain intact.

According to Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski, "During the middle of this week, Humberto will enter an area of the atmosphere with low disruptive winds."

These diminishing winds could be enough to allow the storm to strengthen to a minimal hurricane.

"Late this week, Humberto is likely to weaken while moving into a a zone with drier air and more disruptive winds," Kottlowski said.

A curve to the northwest and then the north is forecast this week, which will take Humberto over the open waters of the Central Atlantic with no serious direct impact to mainland areas.

According to Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski, "the greatest impact from Humberto will be on the Cape Verde Islands this week." Locally gusty thunderstorms, downpours and rough surf and seas will affect the islands.

Prior to the satellite era, the 1941 season did not deliver an Atlantic hurricane until Sept. 16.

Farther back, there were two years that had no reports of hurricanes in the Atlantic. These were in 1907 and 1914. While it is possible there were no hurricanes during both seasons, there were only five reported tropical storms in 1907 and only one in 1914. Especially, during the latter season, a number of storms may have gone undetected without the aid of weather satellite photos.

Beyond Humberto, there are no strong candidates for hurricanes through the middle of September. However, there may be another tropical depression or storm over the next week to ten days. Possible tropical depression/storm breeding areas include the western Caribbean, the southwestern Gulf of Mexico and the continued train of disturbances moving westward off of Africa.

The season thus far has treated most populated areas of North America kindly. Sadly, it has claimed lives in Mexico, due to flooding from Tropical Storm Fernand in August.

Late-season storms in some years have been very destructive.

According to Meteorologist Mark Mancuso, "While 2005's Wilma occurred during the most active Atlantic hurricane season on record, it did not come about until the middle of October."

Wilma became the most intense hurricane on record in the Atlantic basin, in terms of low atmospheric pressure. Maximum sustained winds reached 185 mph. Wilma killed dozens of people and caused nearly $30 billion in damage from the Caribbean, to the eastern United States, Canada and later Europe.

While the season thus far has been tame compared to some years, many meteorologists concur that the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season is not over yet and will not sound the "all-clear" until the weather pattern suggests that.

If Humberto fails as a hurricane, the odds suggest there will be more systems to monitor over the next two months. Alerts to such systems will be sounded, when appropriate.

People should consider hurricanes as being just as much of an autumn weather phenomena as well as a summer phenomena. Hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, since 1851, there have been 645 hurricanes during the months of September, October and November, compared to 568 hurricanes during June, July and August.

"Even if the large high pressure area and its dry air over the central Atlantic was to hold through the remainder of the season, occasional weaknesses in that system can still allow hurricane formation over the next two months," Kottlowski said.