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WeatherTiger Tropical Update for October 30, 2019, issued 5:00PM
We did it, Weather Fans.
It’s been a punishing hurricane season, but the past week marks the point beyond which zero U.S. major hurricane landfalls have occurred and overall historical U.S. landfall frequency declines precipitously. A time of year when north winds cool the waters of the Tropics, push any developing hurricanes away from our coastline, and sweep Very Serious Clownfilms into our theaters. You know, fall.
To wit, November is by far the least active month of the hurricane season for U.S. impacts. Less than 2% of historical U.S. landfall activity has occurred after Halloween since 1900. That’s about the same as what takes place in May, prior to the official June 1st start of the season.
The month ahead is not entirely without risks. Eight November tropical storms and hurricanes have landed on U.S. shores in the 20th and 21st Centuries. All eight of these storms have struck Florida, with 1935’s “Yankee Hurricane” in South Florida and the Panhandle’s Hurricane Kate in 1985 the most significant. More recently, Tropical Storm Mitch in 1998 hit Southwest Florida and Hurricane Ida approached the central Gulf Coast in 2009 before losing tropical characteristics.
While they are an idiosyncratic bunch, November threats generally originate in the Caribbean or western Atlantic along stalled frontal boundaries. Many of these storms’ tracks also have strange loops or hairpin turns, as they pass back and forth between easterly tropical and westerly mid-latitude steering currents.
Despite one or more tropical or subtropical storms forming in roughly 50% of Novembers, it is the increased frequency of U.S. frontal passages that sharply limits late season landfall risks and steers most November development northeast and out to sea. Right on cue, a front will sweep across the Southeast over the next few days, abruptly dropping weekend high temperatures for much of Florida into the 60s and 70s. Persistent troughing over the East Coast should keep Central and North Florida cooler than normal into the second week of November.
This pattern change will also finally scour out the subtropical ridge pattern that coughed up Tropical Storms Nestor and Olga in the latter half of October. Currently, the Atlantic is quiet, other than a non-tropical low that has taken on enough subtropical characteristics northwest of the Azores to be named Subtropical Storm Rebekah. Thousands of miles from the U.S. coastline, Rebekah will be short-lived and not a concern for land.
Elsewhere, the active jet stream over the eastern U.S. should keep a steady procession of fronts coming, and not give any disturbances time to organize in the Gulf or Caribbean over the next 10 days.
God willing and the creek don’t rise, I shouldn’t have any more tropical forecasting to do through the end of November. As I’m sure you have better things to do than read thin, late-season hurricane columns, such as argue on Facebook about the true meaning of Very Serious Clownfilms, this will be my last weekly piece of the year.
I’ll be on the lookout for any late-season storms, of course, and will have full coverage in the unlikely event of a significant landfall threat. Otherwise, I’ll be back at the end of November to wrap up the 2019 hurricane season with a full summary of yet another busy year in the Tropics and a look ahead to 2020.
Until then, hopefully, keep watching the skies.
Dr. Ryan Truchelut is co-founder and chief meteorologist at WeatherTiger, a Tallahassee-based start-up providing advanced weather and climate analytics, consulting, and forecasting solutions to enterprises large and small. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow along on Twitter (@wx_tiger) or Facebook.