Last Gasp for the Atlantic Hurricane Season

By By Alex Sosnowski, expert senior meteorologist.
October 22, 2013, 7:28:34 AM EDT

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Update at 4:45 p.m. EDT Monday, Oct. 21, 2013:

Tropical Storm Lorenzo has formed in the central Atlantic. It is not expected to impact any land in the coming days.


The area that has bred the majority of tropical storms during the 2013 Atlantic season may have a couple more tricks up its sleeve before the season comes to a close.

The western Caribbean and southwestern Gulf of Mexico are likely candidates for near-continent tropical storm formation in the coming weeks.

As large high pressure areas begin to build southeastward from Canada and across the eastern United States, the flow of air around these fair weather systems may help to spin up tropical systems farther south.


According to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski, "It is not uncommon to get a tropical system to form south of a large area of high pressure."

Tropical systems would have to form very far south in this case.

The advancing areas of chilly high pressure over the next few weeks will also greatly lower the risk of powerful storms tracking very far to the north, such as the central Gulf Coast and much of the Atlantic Seaboard.


"The combination of cool air, cooling waters and disruptive winds produced by the high pressure area would tend to limit the strength of any system," Kottlowski said.

Areas to watch closely during the upcoming pattern expected from late week into November for tropical storm or hurricane impact would be from the Florida Peninsula southwestward to southern Mexico, Central America and the islands around the western part of the Caribbean.

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There have been 12 systems that have reached at least tropical storm strength this season in the Atlantic with Humberto and Ingrid being the only systems to reach Category 1 hurricane status.

Including Tropical Depression 8, there have be six tropical systems originating from the general area of the western Caribbean to the southern Gulf.

Officially, hurricane season continues until the end of November.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, from 1851 to 2012, on average there have been one to two tropical storms and about one hurricane from late October through the end of November. The total seasonal average number of tropical storms in the Atlantic is 10 with six hurricanes.

Long Range Weather Expert Paul Pastelok stated during an interview this past summer that the hurricane season may continue late this year with a tropical storm here and there well into November, with the greatest risk being flooding rainfall.

Part of the old moisture from Karen may have played a role in flooding rainfall in parts of southern Pennsylvania and northern Maryland late last week. Close to 10 inches of rain fell on Harrisburg, Pa., in a little over 24 hours.

Persistent dry air and rounds of disruptive winds have played a significant role in reducing the number of hurricanes and the strength of the same this season.

The Atlantic Season behaved like an El Niño year, yet all data suggest that water temperatures over much of the tropical Pacific were near average, suggesting a neutral pattern.

During El Niño, tropical Pacific waters are warmer than normal. This tends to shift disruptive winds southward over eastern North America and much of the Atlantic. These winds tend to inhibit tropical storm formation and limit the strength of tropical systems in general.

"There is something else in addition to dry air, wind shear and tropical water temperatures, playing a role during the low hurricane seasons that we know little about and meteorologists have to study more," Kottlowski stated.

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