When I give hurricane talks to community groups or companies, I often start by saying that hurricane season is aa long as baseball season - six months. Unlike the National Pastime, hurricane season peaks in the middle like the image above. In fact, September 10 is considered the "halfway" point. So it's all downhill from here; at least we hope so.
Early on, projections counted on a developing El Niño to kick in and squelch developing storms. That's because cooler Pacific water shifts the jet stream increasing high-altitude winds in the Atlantic where tropical storms spawn. However, the El Niño pattern has been a bit slower to develop than expected. So we've already seen fourteen named storms, seven hurricane and one major (Cat 3 or higher) in the Atlantic basin.
While devastating when striking land, these giant swirls can almost captivate your attention. Here's a look at Michael as seen from a NASA satellite this past weekend, churning away in the open Atlantic:
It almost appears as though there are two eyes rotating around each other. Michael continues to steam northward into shipping lanes while Leslie, which briefly brushed past Bermuda this weekend may impact Newfoundland Tuesday. Here's where they stand tonight:
And there's a new wave coming off the West Coast of Africa that has signs of developing. This may be Tropical Depression 15 or possibly even Tropical Storm Nadine soon:
So, the inevitable question is, "Will there be another storm threatening the U.S.? I'd give a qualified, "probably not" answer. I'm seeing a pattern shift in that more and more troughs are beginning to cross the country. These features tend to deflect approaching storms and if that pattern holds, it would be unlikely that any new storm would make a landfall. One caveat is that sometimes, storms develop on the tail end of fronts that stall out in the Gulf of Mexico. Such a thing happened in 2007, when surprising Hurricane Humberto formed in less that 18 hours and struck suddenly along High Island. I don't see that happening again this year, but it might be the only way we'd see another threat from the Gulf.
By the way, the latest date of a hurricane hitting Houston is Oct 16, 1989 when Category 1 Jerry moved in and the latest date of a tropical storm is Oct 17, 1938.