The Peak Of Hurricane Season Is Here....

The climatological peak of hurricane season is here and so far... so good. Things are quiet with minimal impacts so far this season. Could that change sooner rather than later?

hurricane peak

We just reached the peak of hurricane season and so far so good here in the U.S.  It took until September 11th to get our 1st hurricane of the season.  That is the 2nd longest (falling 3hrs short of the record) it has taken for our 1st storm to reach hurricane status.

So far we have reached the 'H' storm... Humberto with Ingrid likely to form in the Bay of Campeche any day.  While 9 named storms is a pretty big total and certainly on target for the upper end of the NHC's seasonal forecast...

  • 13 to 19 named storms (top winds of 39 mph or higher), including
  • 6 to 9 hurricanes (top winds of 74 mph or higher), of which
  • 3 to 5 could be major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of at least 111 mph)

and well above the 30-year seasonal averages of 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

(Progress of the average Atlantic season (1966-2009). Date upon which the following number of events would normally have occurred.)

Number Named systems Hurricanes Category 3 or greater
1 July 9 Aug 10 Sep 4
2 Aug 1 Aug 28 Oct 3
3 Aug 13 Sep 9 -
4 Aug 23 Sep 21 -
5 Aug 31 Oct 7 -
6 Sep 8 Nov 23 -
7 Sep 16 - -
8 Sep 24 - -
9 Oct 4 - -
10 Oct 19 - -
11 Nov 23 - -

The bigger story has been the weakness of the storms so far.  In terms of ACE (Accumulated Cyclone Energy), the 2013 season is at about 20 percent of an average season for this date.

As of the end of August, the ACE was 8.35 (the units are in 10,000 knots squared), the lowest since 2002 (and then 1988, 1984, and several other years prior).  (according to the Washington Post)

So we have had a lot of 'storms'... most have been very weak.  The reason why has been the environment over the Atlantic.  There has been a large amount of wind shear (see below) as well as Saharan dust.  Both make it difficult for a system to reach it's peak intensity.

new systems

Still, we are just 1/2 way done with hurricane season and as I know I mention all the time... it only takes 1 storm to have a bad season.  Here are maps showing the areas of origin and historical tracks for storms during Sept, Oct, and Nov.

 We have had our fair share of late season storms like Opal (October) and Kate (November) so make sure to stay weather aware and have your hurricane preparedness kit together.  You know the VIPIR 7 Weather Team will keep you covered.  As always, do not hesitate to contact me if you ever have any questions.



Chris Smith
Chief Meteorologist, WJHG-TV

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