As of right now... 8pm on October 11... the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico are all quiet. No storms and nothing of interest. So far, we have reached Philippe... the 16the named storm of the 2011 season and even if no more storms form... it will go down as one of the busiest record.
This past weekend a 'storm' developed off the east coast of Florida and caused quite a big of damage and produced some pretty good flooding. This storm... despite 1' of rain and wind gusts to 75mph was never declared a tropical system by the National Hurricane Center. As has been the luck for us in NWFL recently, this system slid in our direction before moving NE and away from us. Throughout we remained on the drier, western side of the storm meaning much lighter rainfall totals.
Even meteorologists could not agree as to whether this storm was truly a tropical system. Read the below assessments from Accuweather and The Weather Channel.
What do you think after reading both explanations? In the end in my opinion the truth probably lies somewhere in between as to whether 'Rina' hit Florida this past weekend.
What should not get lost in this is the fact that just because a storm does not have a name does not mean it does not pose a threat. Much like just because a thunderstorm warning is issued vs. a tornado warning does not make it less deadly or damaging. People need to heed warnings and watches whether they be hurricane, tropical storm or a flash flood.
Remember the March Super storm in 1993? It produced a deadly storm surge over the Big Bend of Florida and gusts to over hurricane force despite not having a 'name.'
So, while often we get hung up on storms have names or categories. It does not take those things for it to have a profound impact on your family. Imagine if you were along the east coast of Florida and experienced 1' of rain and 75mph winds. Would you think or care if it had a name?
All that being said, when we look back in history (1950-2010), October and November storms are not terribly common, but also not out of the question over the northern Gulf coast.
The two benchmark storms for us during those months are of course Kate in 1985 and Opal in 1995. Let us hope we are not due and get a late season surprise. Regardless, prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Also, know that we can see a secondary tornado season here in the deep south in November.
So, whether it be a named hurricane, a hybrid something another, a severe weather outbreak make sure your family is weather aware. You can also trust that the VIPIR7 Weather Team will keep you and your family safe when storms threaten.
Thanks for watching!
Chief Meteorologist, WJHG-TV