• Bryan Norcross

August to end with no named storms but history tells us not to rest

It’s very unusual to go through August with no tropical storms being named in the Atlantic, but it’s not unheard of. And history tells us that seasons that wait until September to crank up can sometimes be quite memorable.


In 1961, for example, there was a June hurricane in the southern Caribbean and then nothing until September when monster Category 4 Hurricane Carla ravaged the Texas coast. Later in the month, Category 5 Hurricane Esther weakened before impacting New England. A month later, Category 5 Hurricane Hattie tracked across the Caribbean and slammed Belize, decimating the capital city. There were only 12 named storms in 1961, but it was a very impactful hurricane season.


In 2001, there were no hurricanes until September, but we ended up with 9 for the season. The point it, we still have a lot of hurricane season to go.



Today, there are three systems spinning in the Atlantic, and at least two of them have a decent chance of getting named.


Tropical Disturbance #1 has been lollygagging east of the Caribbean islands. Forecast errors are consistently larger than normal for slow-moving, disorganized systems, so we want to be sure the forecasts are right, and the system tracks toward the waters north of Puerto Rico and east of the Bahamas before bending out to sea.


The disturbance is still trying to organize and fight off a moderately dry environment surrounding the developing circulation. But the consensus of the computer forecast models is that it will be able to organize into at least a tropical depression over the next few days as it drifts along a track that would keep it clear of the islands.


This disturbance has a decent chance of becoming a named storm over the open ocean east of the Bahamas.



Disturbance #2 started out as a non-tropical system left over from a dying cold front. It is forecast to get stranded in a pocket of atmosphere conducive for the system to organize and intensify. The computer forecast models indicate there’s a good chance it will meet the criteria to be named, although it might be one of those hybrid tropical/non-tropical systems we call subtropical. In any case, it would count as a named storm.


The system is moving away from the U.S. in the open North Atlantic.


Tropical Disturbance #3 is the disorganized system near the Cabo Verde Islands just off the coast of Africa. It has a short window of time to organize into a tropical depression or tropical storm before it heads over colder water in the eastern Atlantic.


Even if it does organize, it would likely be over the open ocean at that time.


None of these systems appears to be a threat to land on our side of the Atlantic, though we’ll keep an eye on Tropical Disturbance #1 through the weekend to be sure.


Except for the dry air over the Atlantic, the environmental conditions across the tropics seem conducive for tropical development. So the odds still favor a busy second half of the hurricane season. Stay aware.