October – “Not Over”

When October rolls around, I recall the old mariner’s poem that attempts to describe the hurricane season like this:

June too soon.
July stand by.
August look out you must.
September remember.
October all over.

The poem was published in “Weather Lore” by R. Inwards in 1898. That description was probably thought to be reasonably accurate over 100 years ago. A publication called “The Deadliest Atlantic Tropical Cyclones, 1492-1996″ by Ed Rappaport and Jose Fernandez-Partagas (http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pastdeadly.shtml) states that the last line of the poem may be more ambiguous than helpful. In some Octobers, “all over” seems to describe the spatial distribution rather than a certain cessation of activity.

The graphic below shows the formation points of 277 tropical storms during the month of October from 1851 to 2007.

HURRTRAK display of Tropical Storm Formation Points in October from 1851-2007

HURRTRAK display of Tropical Storm Formation Points in October from 1851-2007

The graphic below shows the formation points of 146 hurricanes during the month of October from 1851 to 2007.

HURRTRAK display of Hurricane Formation Points in October from 1851-2007

HURRTRAK display of Hurricane Formation Points in October from 1851-2007

These two graphics make a pretty good case for the fact that the hurricane season is usually “not over” by October.

17 thoughts on “October – “Not Over”

  1. Going to St. Thomas and St. John from 10/3/09 – 10/10/09. We will be honeymooning there. Praying real hard we do not get hit with any hurricanes. Been to the Virgin Islands years ago. So beautiful!!

  2. going to cuba 30th sept with husband,daughter and sister-in-law for 20th wedding anniversary should we be worried about these dates

  3. Thank you for the information. Going to Florida in October and I was concerned. Guess I will have to take my chances and pray no hurricane comes in.

  4. Planning a cruise to southern carribean from San Juan Puerto Oct 18, 2009 through Oct 25, 2009. May rethink it after reviewing your tropical storm / Hurricane graphics.
    Thanks for the info

  5. Moved to Weeks Bay, AL a year ago. Husband bought house I had not seen…low lying ranch with 5′ drop from back of lot; praying no hurricanes before we can SELL! Your blog helpful; selling ASAP!

  6. For years we have relied on the quoted poem, interpreting it to mean that “At the end of October, it’s all over” (meaning that activity has ceased). Our first year in the Caribbean (1984) proved us to be a little incorrect when we met Hurricane Klaus around 9 November, but since then we have acted on the original assumption without inconvenience, here in Puerto Rico. Jorge

  7. Sooo if you do the math….1851 to 2007 is 156 years so 146 hurricanes divided by 156 years equals 0.935 hurricanes per year on average….less than 1……not saying it can’t happen but I am not going to lose any sleep over it. Not to mention the fact that no major storms have hit Tampa since the last direct hit in October 1921 before they started naming hurricanes….that’s 90 years….only a few living souls in this area were around to witness it…. Tampa does get the outskirts, but it hasn’t been hit head on since then!…Hope this helps anyone who might be listening to the local weather men who try to get ratings up and blow…(no pun intended) everything out of proportion.

    • Please bear in mind, the stats are for OCTOBER only, not the whole year, so that stats say there’s a hurricane pretty much every October in the Caribbean, give or take the odd lucky year. And we’re talking about the Caribbean, not Tampa Bay.

  8. Thank you so much, Dale! I’ve live in Tampa for almost 4 years now (moved from TX) and I was very concerned about the hurricanes. But with your calculations I do feel much better now. Of course I want to be smart and have my evacuation plan in place, just in case, but I am more at ease. On Oct 9th my boyfriend and I are going on an 8 day Carribean cruise and I pray that it stays clear during that time. Well we’ll see! 😉

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