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Is Atlantic Hurricane Void Going to Last?

By By Alex Sosnowski, expert senior meteorologist.
September 05, 2013, 2:35:56 AM EDT

The 2013 Atlantic Hurricane season will go down in the books as being free of hurricanes through August. However, data suggests that interests in the basin may not be so fortunate through November.

According to Meteorologist Adrienne Green, "Since 1960, there have been five years when there were no hurricanes through August."

The years were 1967, 1984, 1988, 2001 and 2002. At the close of Saturday, 2013 will officially join this list.

"During each of those [five years before 2013], multiple hurricanes followed spanning September through October," Green said.


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An average of about nine named systems with about six hurricanes occurred following August during those five years. Since the start of September, the 2001 season brought nine hurricanes, while 2002 brought four hurricanes.

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While there is no 100-percent guarantee any hurricanes will form for the balance of the season, the odds are greatly in favor of multiple hurricanes through November with some of these likely during September.

Based on past data, there will be multiple major hurricanes and direct impact on land by named systems are likely moving forward this season.

Each of these five years without August hurricanes delivered deadly and damaging hurricanes later in the season ranging from the Caribbean islands to Central America, Mexico, the United States and Canada. These include:

  • 1967 - September Hurricane Beulah - Category 5 - 688 fatalities - $1 billion in damage
  • 1984 - September Hurricane Diana - Category 4 - 3 fatalities - $65.5 million in damage
  • 1988 - September Hurricane Gilbert - Category 4 - 550 fatalities - $7 billion in damage
  • 2001 - October Hurricane Iris - Category 4 - 36 fatalities - $250 million in damage
  • 2001 - November Hurricane Michelle - Category 4 - 22 fatalities - $2 billion in damage
  • 2002 - September Hurricane Isidore - Category 3 - 19 fatalities - $1.3 billion in damage
  • 2002 - September Hurricane Lili - Category 4 - 13 fatalities - $925 million in damage

The 1984 and 2001 seasons brought named systems lingering into December. The 2002 season ended early, during mid-October.

A lack of strong systems in the tropics to date this season means there is a great deal of potential heat energy that is locked up over the basin. This energy is likely to be released and transported northward in the form of hurricanes during the months ahead.

There does not have to be a major hurricane making direct landfall to bring great risk to lives and property. Dangerous and damaging effects from a storm passing near an area or diminishing while moving inland can bring tremendous flooding, for example.

Despite the lack of hurricanes through August this season, people should not let their guard down.

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