Should we change the dates for hurricane season?

Hurricane Michael 2018

You’ve probably heard by now that we expect TS Arthur to form this weekend, some two weeks ahead of the scheduled beginning of June 1 -- the official start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season (the Pacific season starts May 15th and they’ve already had one flare-up).

Look at the GFS model below for Sunday:

Sunday, Tropical Storm off Florida

You can see the tightly wound up LOW off Florida and the millibars for the pressure reading are at 1003. Anything at 1005 or below can produce winds strong enough to classify as a tropical storm (39 mph +). By Tuesday, the pressure drops to 985 mb, strong enough for hurricane-force winds (74 mph or higher).

Here is Tuesday’s forecast:

Cat 1 Hurricane moves off the Atlantic

So no wonder the National Hurricane Center today gives this area a 70% chance for tropical development the next five days. And if you think that rings a bell, you’d be right: every year since 2015 has started before June 1st and, in fact, half the years since 2000 have started early.

It’s not a new phenomenon and you can see a terrific article here about the many years in history where the season has started before the official date. What is different is that this early start is happening more and more often. How many times does that have to occur before we move the date up to represent the average?

Regardless, our hurricane season reminder comes this weekend!


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About the Authors:

KPRC 2's chief meteorologist with four decades of experience forecasting Houston's weather.