Houston has only a month of hurricane season to go

HOUSTON - Hurricane season officially lasts until the end of November for the Atlantic basin (where we are), but thanks to our geographic position relative to the annual arrival of autumn air, our season effectively ends by the first week of next month. (Only four more weeks to go!)

During that time, a semi-permanent steering current sets up, sweeping anything tropical heading our way safely away. Hurricanes are still possible in early October, but are notably rare. The latest ever to make landfall was Hurricane Jerry on October 16th, 1989.

Out of the 27 hurricanes that have hit within 50 miles of Galveston or Freeport, in our reliably recorded history (since 1854), only 3 struck after the month of September.  I found only one hurricane that made landfall in November, on the 5th, in 1839 -- just three and a half years after the Battle of San Jacinto. There are also stories of a hurricane hitting our region on November of 1527. [Source] (One source suggest a second November hurricane happened here sometime in the 19th century, but I can't confirm. The point I'm making is that they're nearly unheard of.)

List of Rare October Hurricanes

  • A near miss - October 8-9, 1867 - Hurricane "Seven" (brushed us, but no landfall)
  • October 4, 1949 - Hurricane "Eleven" (Freeport landfall)
  • October 16, 1989 - Hurricane "Jerry" (Galveston landfall)

Now, do not let your guard down yet because there's still plenty of time for something to spin-up, and weather does not always respect the history books, but we are only likely to be in this high risk time for three more weeks. Then, we enter a lower risk period for a few weeks as the season wanes.

A final note: With global climate changes, some scientists speculate the whole concept of a, "hurricane season" has become fuzzy. It traditionally begins June 1st and ends November 30th. This year however, the season's first hurricane -- "Alex", a category 1 -- formed in January. While it was way out in the open Atlantic and no threat to Houston, some say with a warmer globe, the seasons could easily shift. That could translate to our local hurricane season lasting a few weeks longer.

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(© 2016 KHOU)


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