Today, powerful Hurricane Earl is centered a few hundred miles east of the easternmost Bahamas and Tropical Storm Fiona is located a few hundred miles east of the Caribbean. Both of these tropical cyclones are currently forecast to stay well away from South Florida.
Statistically, September is the peak month for tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic.
The graphic above shows the formation points of 481 tropical storms during the month of September from the National Hurricane Center’s historical data set extending from 1851 to 2009. Note that the developments can occur just about anywhere over the tropical and subtropical Atlantic, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico. During the satellite era starting in 1966, the Atlantic has averaged 3.7 tropical storms and 2.4 hurricanes during the month of September. And remember that most seasonal hurricane forecasters are calling for above average activity.
September landfalls in Florida include the second deadliest United States hurricane on record – the Lake Okeechobee Hurricane of 1928; the costliest U.S. hurricane on record after adjusting for inflation, population and wealth – the Great Miami Hurricane of 1926; and the most intense U.S. hurricane on record – the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 in the Florida Keys.
The tropics have indeed become more active. And we have a long way to go before the end of hurricane season.