August Formation Points

The graphic below shows the formation points of tropical storms during the month of August from the National Hurricane Center’s (NHC) historical data set.

August Formation Points 1851 to 2008

August Formation Points 1851 to 2008

The historical data set shows that 349 tropical storms have formed in August from 1851 through 2008.  There are certainly a lot more dots on this graphic than we saw in June and July, and we see a lot more initial developments over the tropical Atlantic between the west coast of Africa and the Caribbean. 

Before the age of routine satellite coverage started in the mid 1960s, some tropical storms were obviously missed.  According to data from the NHC, the Atlantic Basin averages 3.1 tropical storms and 1.6 hurricanes during the month of August in the satellite era.

A lot of folks are talking about how inactive the Atlantic has been with no named storms in June or July.  The historical record during the satellite era shows only one year – 1997 – with no named storms forming during the month of August.  That year had below average activity, but still managed eight storms including three hurricanes.

Seasonal hurricane forecasters Phil Klotzbach and Bill Gray as well as NOAA will be updating their seasonal forecasts later this week.  We will see what they have to say.  One would think that if their numbers are changed that they would be lowered given the current El Nino conditions in the Pacific.


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