Hurricanes and hunger games

CREDIT: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA)

First things first, as the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season comes to an end we might be seeing an end to El Nino just as the 2024 season gets going. That’s important because El Nino years tend to give us quiet hurricane seasons. In fact, you can compare La Nina years vs El Nino years for tropical activity below:

CREDIT: Max Defender 8 weather team, TAMPA

NOAA’s historical look back illustrates a really important point: Texas doesn’t see much hurricane activity during El Nino years!


The “why” to this is that El Nino creates winds across the Caribbean that tend to tear up tropical systems trying to form. And El Nino is currently on the strong side and will stay that way through spring--meaning a wetter and cooler winter for us. Not necessarily super cold, by the way, as it just stands to reason that if we are wetter then we are cloudier and, thus, cooler. Here’s the latest forecast for El Nino--I’ve highlighted the consensus model forecast (red line) and you can see it begins to fade next summer. And with that, so will its “protection”.

CREDIT: IRI for Climate and Society

And this year attests to the power of El Nino’s protection: Texas had tropical storm Harold which was forgettable. The Florida Panhandle was hit by Idalia and Ophelia struck North Carolina, but that has been it. Here are the tracks so far:

CREDIT: National Hurricane Center
CREDIT: National Hurricane Center

All in all, a quiet season for the United States. Saying that, the American Model has been spinning up a storm for next week and the National Hurricane Center is granting a 30% chance of development in the Caribbean over the next seven days, so the season may not be over yet! Here’s the GFS (American model) and you can see that spin up this time next week, which moves across southern Cuba toward the Atlantic:


We shall see. In the meantime, an early forecast for Thanksgiving (the hunger games part of this blog) calls for sunny and cool! High temperatures are expected to be in the 50s with clear skies. Again, the American model for Thanksgiving week:


I can be honest with you--the same forecast two weeks out last year was completely wrong! Last year was cloudy and rainy on Thanksgiving. So consider this current forecast just a bit of stuffing!


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About the Author:

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