September 10, which is next Tuesday, is the statistical peak of the Atlantic hurricane season. It also happens to be one of my golf buddies birthday, which may explain his great interest on tropical weather! As Frank and I discussed on air Thursday evening, it is highly unusual that we have gone this far into the season without a hurricane. While I would dearly love to tell you this means no big storms in the Atlantic it just isn’t so.
One only has to look at the 2001 hurricane season to see why I say this. The first storm to reach hurricane strength in 2001, Erin, did not do so until September 8, yet by season’s end there had been 9 hurricanes, 4 of which reached category 3 or 4. Lance Wood, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in League City has compared the weather pattern in the 2001 season to be most similar to this year. Will let you know around Thanksgiving how this plays out…
Let’s look at what we can foresee. The areas of the southwestern Gulf and Western Caribbean are what I’ll be focusing on over the next week. While nothing appears imminently ready to develop into a storm, plenty of moist unstable air, weak tropical waves and very warm ocean waters set the environment for getting a storm to develop rather quickly. For the next several days, the big high pressure ridge that has dominated our weather this summer will keep disturbances forming in these regions moving west to west-northwest across Central America and Mexico, thus well to the south of our area.
Some computer models suggest the high might move far enough east by the middle of next week which would allow a shift in the steering current from the western Caribbean to Texas, which is why I’ll have my focus on the Gulf and Caribbean instead of way east off the coast of Africa!