Posted by: pyeager | August 14, 2009

Latest Start to Hurricane Season

The Atlantic hurricane season, with no named storms as of yet (August 14), is obviously off to a slow start (even though it’s starting to show signs of life). This doesn’t mean that there will be no tropical storms or hurricanes, of course, especially since the peak of the season is roughly from August 15 through October 1. There is plenty of time for tropical storms and hurricanes to form–enough to make everyone forget about the slow start.

The slow start does, however,  raise the question of what is the latest start of hurricane season.

Latest in History?

This is the slowest start to a hurricane season since 1992, but it’s difficult to track when the latest start in recorded history is because the way we track hurricanes has greatly improved in recent decades. Instantaneous, world-wide satellite images and weather observations makes it impossible for tropical storms and hurricanes to go unnoticed–as they often did previously.

A storm that didn’t make landfall, affect habited islands, pass through shipping lanes, or didn’t produce noticeably swell in areas where forecasters could then surmise a storm existed all went unnoticed, rendering seasonal storm numbers incomplete. The first weather satelltite was launched around 1960, so even seasonal numbers in the middle of 20th century are possibly incomplete.

1914–One Named Storm

While we can’t say with certainty that no tropical storm or hurricane occurred in an unobserved area, it appears as if 1914 was the year with the lastest forming tropical system. It did not reach hurricane strength and moved inland near the Florida/Georgia border in the middle of September.

–Paul Yeager

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