Is the Atlantic Hurricane Season Over?

Several people have asked me if I think that the Atlantic hurricane season is over.   During the past ten years, we have had two seasons that ended in early October – in 2002 and in 2006.  But I assure you that no one can tell you with absolute certainty whether this season is already over or not.  I can, however, tell you that if you look at the historical records going back to 1870 that only about 25 to 30% of the seasons end by this date.

Beginning and Ending of Atlantic Hurricane Season (NCDC)

Beginning and Ending of Atlantic Hurricane Season (NCDC)

The above graphic presents a cumulative percentage frequency distribution of the beginning and ending dates of the Atlantic tropical cyclone season and comes from the NOAA National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) publication called the Historical Climatology Series 6-2: Tropical Cyclones of the North Atlantic Ocean 1851-2006 by the National Hurricane Center’s Colin J. McAdie, Christopher W. Landsea, Charles J. Neumann (retired), Joan E. David, Eric S. Blake and NCDC’s Gregory R. Hammer.  The publication can be ordered from NCDC or downloaded for free.  See http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/abouttrackbooks.shtml.

The figure also shows that the median (50% cumulative percentage frequency) ending date is October 30th.

Just because a cold front has pushed all the way through Florida doesn’t guarantee that the Atlantic hurricane season is over.  In fact, late season developments often occur on the trailing end of frontal cloud bands that have moved into the western Caribbean or the Atlantic in the vicinity of the Bahamas.

Let’s be thankful this season has had no impacts on South Florida so far, but let’s remain vigilant through November.

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