Where tropical activity typically occurs in October
The Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico are usually active
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - It has been an active year overall in the Atlantic Basin here in 2023. As of October 3rd there have been 18 named storms, leaving only four names on the list with nearly two months to go in hurricane season.
Fortunately, many of the storms to develop this year have stayed out over the water; some certainly did cause problems though. That includes Harold, Idalia, Lee and Ophelia. Three of those -- Harold, Idalia and Ophelia -- made landfall in the U.S.
Heading through October it’s imperative to remain vigilant and prepared. That’s because October can be -- and has been -- a very busy month in the tropics. Just look back at Hurricane Zeta in few years ago. Significant impacts were felt right here in Alabama as Zeta moved through.
The Gulf of Mexico is just one area to watch during October. The Caribbean Sea and western Atlantic are notorious for being busy this month too.
There’s no written rule that says every October storm will form in one of those three area. However, most of the time any storm that forms this month will form in one of those locations.
States like Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and the Carolinas in particular have been impacted by landfalling October systems in the past. Just because the average number of storms drops from September to October does not mean the season is over.
Once November gets here the number of storms that form in the Atlantic Basin drops quite a bit. It becomes increasingly unlikely that additional storms form as November moves along.
That doesn’t mean this November will be without tropical activity, it just means the probability of seeing any drops compared to October. One thing to watch during the remainder of hurricane season is the very warm water temperatures being seen.
The water is in the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and southwestern Atlantic is very warm. It’s full of “energy” that can not only support tropical development, but support quick strengthening of a tropical system if one does form.
It’s a term that has become all too common: rapid intensification (RI). If a storm develops over the next month or so and treks through the Caribbean or Gulf of Mexico the potential certainly exists for it to “overperform” and rapidly intensify.
I will say that long-range forecast models are suggesting a rather quiet stretch through roughly October 15th. Of course that can change. But based on what things look like right now, the first two weeks of October should be quiet.
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