Is OUR hurricane season over?


Hurricane graphic courtesy

There is nothing like a late September cold front to bring much-needed relief from summer’s oppressive heat and also make us start thinking that fall is taking over and hurricane season is diminishing.

I’ve written before that the latest hurricane on the Texas coast was 1989′s Jerry mid-October storm. So, on that alone, statistically we are nearing the end of hurricane season for us and a good cold front helps because that is a sign the westerlies off the Rockies are kicking in and those cold fronts protect us! They pick up approaching storms and turn them north or northeast!

Here’s the American model the next two weeks (and remember that confidence really only goes out eight days) and it keeps Sam off the eastern seaboard and has nothing showing up in the Gulf of Mexico. Sam is that low pressure system at the bottom of the graphic way out in the Atlantic:

American Model courtesy tropicaltidbits

You can see how SAM is turned north and eventually northeast by that front. Of course, things can change but another plus is a graphic I look at called Tropical Heat Potential. While Gulf sea surface temperatures are still between 82°-84°, you need those temperatures at least 150′ deep to get a storm going and the deeper water layers are beginning to cool. Here’s the Gulf and you can see a lot of blue! Blue is good as it means the potential for tropical development is low:

Tropical Heat Potential in the Gulf of Mexico

Notice the Caribbean is still ripe for producing a tropical storm. Red means potential!

Tropical Heat Potential in the Caribbean

A good rule of thumb

Former National Hurricane Director Bill Read, who worked with us at KPRC 2 for several years, always said that the SECOND strong cold front has him breathing easier when it comes to tropical storms, so don’t let your guard down. In the meantime, enjoy this first front and what promises to be an outstanding fall weekend! I’ll let you know when that second front is coming our way.


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About the Authors:

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

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.