The above graphic shows preferred areas for tropical storm formation in the month of July to be over the Gulf of Mexico, the western Caribbean Sea, and off the southeast U.S. coast similar to June, but we also start looking to the east over the tropical Atlantic during July.
The historical data set shows that 105 tropical storms have formed in July from 1851 through 2009. Since aircraft reconnaissance began in 1944, we have seen an average of one named storm form somewhere in the Atlantic Basin during July. And, on average, we have one hurricane about every other year during this month.
Of course, those are averages and there is a lot of variability. We saw five tropical storms form during July in 2005 with three of those becoming hurricanes (including two major hurricanes). Yet many years have had no storms develop in this month.
Hurricane Alex that made landfall last night in northeastern Mexico is only the first storm in what long-range forecasters are saying is going to be a very active hurricane season. Let’s get prepared.