The Atlantic Is Quiet Right Now, But That Doesn't Mean Hurricane Season Is Over

Chris Dolce
Published: October 8, 2019

Atlantic hurricane season has been quiet since Lorenzo exited the tropics about a week ago, but that doesn't mean there won't be any named storms to track in the coming weeks.

2019 Atlantic named storm tracks through Oct. 7.

Hurricane season officially runs through Nov. 30, but there is a decline in overall activity in the latter portion of the season.

In the last five years, the date the final Atlantic storm of the season has been named has ranged from as early as the last week of October to as late as Thanksgiving week.

A few seasons have ended exceptionally early, in late September or early October. As recently as 2006, the final named storm fizzled on Oct. 2.

But recent and long-term history shows we cannot let our guard down yet. About 23% of the Atlantic's hurricanes have formed after Oct. 7, according to Dr. Phil Klotzbach, tropical scientist at Colorado State University.

The Atlantic has averaged an additional two hurricane formations after Oct. 7 (1966-2009 average), according to the National Hurricane Center.

Last year, Hurricane Michael became the latest in the season a Category 5 hurricane struck the U.S. when it made landfall on the Florida Panhandle on Oct. 10.

The latest a major hurricane (Category 3 or stronger) made landfall in the U.S. was the 1925 Tampa Bay hurricane on Oct. 25.

Hurricane Kate in 1985 is the latest-in-season hurricane landfall in the U.S. Kate came ashore at Mexico Beach, Florida, on Nov. 21, a week before Thanksgiving.

Sandy in 2012 is the most recent hurricane to make a late-season strike on the United States. Sandy transitioned into a non-tropical low-pressure system just before making landfall on the Jersey Shore on Oct. 29.

Roughly one-fifth of all U.S. hurricane landfalls have occurred in October and November, so residents along the Gulf and East coasts need to remain prepared.

On average, one hurricane forms every year in October, according to the National Hurricane Center. The most hurricanes to form in October was five in 2010.

By October, the formation zones of tropical storms and hurricanes typically shift westward toward the western Caribbean Sea, eastern Gulf of Mexico and far western Atlantic Ocean. In what is known as the "Cabo Verde" portion of the hurricane season, development of African easterly waves fades.

But in South Florida, October is the month with the most hurricane direct hits. According to NOAA's Best Track Database, 23 October hurricanes have passed within 100 nautical miles of downtown Miami since 1851.

In November, the area to watch for tropical development shrinks significantly as upper-level winds turn increasingly hostile.

The southwest Caribbean, however, can remain a hot spot for tropical development in November.

Most recently, Hurricane Otto formed in the southwest Caribbean during the week of Thanksgiving in 2016. Otto then made landfall as a Category 3 on Thanksgiving Day in southern Nicaragua.

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.


The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.