16 named storms, 10 hurricanes, 6 major hurricanes… It’s been a historic season in so many ways, and thankfully we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Here’s a look at the storms we’ve seen through October.
Just 30 days remain in the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season and this is the time of year when activity starts to diminish rapidly. In fact, only 5% of named storms since 1950 have formed during the month of November. There are only 3 hurricane landfalls in the continental U.S. on record during the month of November. The most recent being Hurricane Kate (Cat. 2) that hit the Florida Panhandle on November 21, 1985.
In November, tropical systems usually form either in the WSW Caribbean or in the western Atlantic northeast of Cuba. In these areas, water temperatures are still warm enough for storms to thrive and wind shear is low. Closer to the United States there is some level of protection thanks to 1) rapidly cooling Gulf of Mexico waters and 2) more wind shear being present over the Gulf due to frequent cold fronts dropping south. Most November storms end up being more of a problem for places like Cuba, the Bahamas, and Bermuda.
Graphic below courtesy Philip Klotzbach at Colorado State University.
All is quiet across the Atlantic right now, lets hope it stays that way for the next few weeks.
Late Friday afternoon, the National Hurricane Center tagged Potential Tropical Cyclone 18 in the western Caribbean. Lacking a low-level center, it’s not yet qualified to be a tropical system, but it’s expected that this will become Tropical Storm Philippe later tonight or early Saturday. This system will accelerate to the northeast, moving quickly across Cuba on Saturday and the Bahamas on Sunday.
The biggest impact from the quick-moving Philippe will heavy rainfall potential across Cuba, the Bahamas, and South Florida:
Cayman Islands, Cuba and Bahamas: 4-8″ with maximum totals of 10″
South Florida and the Florida Keys: 3-5″ with maximum totals of 8″
A cold front will sweep through these areas quickly Sunday into Monday, bringing cooler temperatures, clearing skies, and windy conditions.
Invest 93L continues to show no signs of further organization Thursday morning. It remains nothing more than a disorganized area of showers and storms with a weak circulation. The disturbance has struggled immensely with land interaction over the last couple of days and that will continue over the next 24 hours. It will however have a narrow window Friday & Saturday over the northwestern Caribbean when some weak development is possible. Beyond that time, upper-level winds associated with our next cold front will create a much less favorable environment for development. A tropical depression, or even weak Tropical Storm Philippe, nearing the Keys or South Florida on this weekend is not out of the question, but it’s just not a scenario that models have been favoring as of late.
Regardless of development, this disturbance will be a big rain maker for parts of South Florida and the Keys. Widespread rainfall totals of 2-4″ are expected with isolated higher amounts possible. Amounts will taper off quickly further north in the state.
Florida, along with the rest of the Southeast, will clear out quickly behind the front and unseasonably cool weather will set in for Halloween. Meanwhile, 93L will contribute to the development of an intense nor’easter-style storm that will bring very heavy rainfall, localized flooding, and whipping winds to parts of New England Sunday into Monday.
Below: GFS 24 hr rainfall totals valid at 8am Monday morning… Image courtesy tropicaltidbits.com
The 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season may not be over just yet. The last couple of days we’ve been watching an area of disturbed weather over the Western Caribbean and Central America. So far, land interaction has been the main limiting factor, but conditions should be a little more favorable over the next day or so as this disturbance (Invest 93L) moves slowly north into the Northwestern Caribbean.
While this an area that is notorious for late-season hurricanes, model trends have not been particularly concerning as of late. As 93L moves into the southern Gulf over the weekend, it will be merging with the next cold coming across the Southeast and into Florida. This front will introduce stronger upper-level winds, likely preventing 93L from developing any further. Nonetheless, it bears watching. Regardless of development, heavy rains are headed for South Florida this weekend.
Tropical Storm Ophelia continues to get organized and will soon become our 10th hurricane of 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. Sea-surface temperatures in this part of the Atlantic Ocean aren’t incredibly warm, but upper-level winds are favorable for slow intensification.
Ophelia will head east-northeast over the next few days and eventually make more of a northward turn through the weekend. It is currently forecast to stay west of Portugal this weekend, before bringing gusty winds and rain to Ireland early next week.
It has been a season for the record books so far. Through today, October 11th, we’ve had 15 named storms – 9 of which have been hurricanes, and 5 of those 9 became major hurricanes (category 3 or higher). On average through this date, we only have 9 named storms, 5 hurricanes, and 2 major hurricanes.
To add to that, the 9 hurricanes we’ve had this season have been consecutive – Franklin to Nate. The last time we had 9 or more back to back hurricanes was 1893!
This season has been remarkable in so many ways and there’s still another 50 days to go before it’s over. Let’s hope it stays quiet until then.
Nate became the 9th consecutive hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic season Friday night. According to Dr. Klotzbach of Colorado State University this is the most consecutive hurricanes in the Atlantic since 1893. Nate continues to intensify over the warm Gulf of Mexico with a defined central dense overcast. An eye may be forming Saturday morning. Upper level winds favor further intensification too, and Nate is now projected to make landfall in southern Mississippi late Saturday evening as a category 2 hurricane. As of 11 AM, max sustained winds are at 90 mph as Nate races north-northwest at 26 mph. The only saving grace for Nate is that there is not much time left before landfall for long-term further strengthening. Hurricane Hunters are out there non stop. Data shows the strongest winds are felt east of its center. Hurricane force winds only extend out 25 miles from the center. This spares New Orleans from the worst wind. Spin up tornadoes are likely through Sunday morning in the right northeast quadrant. Tropical storm conditions will reach the Tennessee Valley by Sunday night. Nate will become a depression by Monday and bring a stream of steady rain through the Northeast through early Tuesday.
Nate will bring life threatening storm surge to the central Gulf coast. The greatest storm surge will be near landfall and to areas just east. This includes coastal Mississippi, Alabama, and the western Florida Panhandle. Here is a breakdown of the significant storm surge threat as of the 11 AM advisory from the National Hurricane Center:
Mouth of the Mississippi River to the Mississippi/Alabama border-7
to 11 feet
Mississippi/Alabama border to the Alabama/Florida border, including
Mobile Bay-6 to 9 feet
Morgan City, Louisiana to the mouth of the Mississippi River-4 to
Alabama/Florida border to the Okaloosa/Walton County Line-4 to 6
Okaloosa/Walton County Line to Indian Pass, Florida-2 to 4 feet
Indian Pass to Crystal River, Florida-1 to 3 feet
Gulfport and Biloxi are especially vulnerable to coastal flooding. A storm surge of 12-15 feet is possible here.These areas are no stranger to big coastal flooding events from hurricanes, including Katrina in 2005 and Camile in 1969.
Nate will also bring freshwater flooding to the U.S. It is a fast mover, though. While southeast Louisiana will see 1-4″+, southern Alabama could pick up 6-10 inches of rain. The potential for heavy rain moves through the Tennessee Valley Sunday and the Northeast Monday. The graphic below is courtesy NOAA. It shows possible rainfall totals through Tuesday morning.
Tropical Storm Nate has been back out over open water today and slowly getting better organized. At 8pm Friday, the storm was located about 90 miles NE of Cozumel and racing NNW at 22 mph. It will slide past the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula and into the southern Gulf tonight.
The storm still lacks an inner core, but there is still plenty of time for one to develop. If and when that happens, the environment is favorable for rapid intensification to occur – which the National Hurricane Center made note of in their afternoon discussion. As of now, the NHC is expecting Nate to become a hurricane before making landfall on the LA/MS coast late Saturday night.
Nate will bring with it the full gamut of impacts that you would expect with a land-falling tropical system.
Nate is a rather fast-moving system, so freshwater flooding is likely to be less of an issue than coastal flooding due to storm surge along the Gulf Coast. 3-6″ with isolated amounts of 10 inches is possible from the central Gulf Coast states into the eastern Tennessee Valley and southern Appalachians through this weekend. This may result in flash flooding in some areas.
Life-threatening storm surge flooding is likely along portions of
the northern Gulf Coast. The hardest hit areas will depend on the exact track of Nate as it comes ashore, but right now the highest storm surge numbers are projected to be in coastal Mississippi. Places like Gulfport and Biloxi are all too familiar with devastating storm surge thanks to benchmark storms like Katrina (2005) and Camille (1969). Current projections have 10-12’+ of storm surge in these areas. A storm surge of even 4-6′ may stretch as far east as Pensacola, FL.
Land-falling tropical systems are notorious for quick-moving, weak tornadoes and Nate will be no different. Tornadoes in tropical systems are most often found in the northeastern quadrant of the storm, so in the case of Nate, that puts areas from extreme SE Mississippi through the Florida Panhandle and much of south Alabama at highest risk.
We’ll be monitoring the progress of Nate through the weekend, so be sure to check back here for updates.
As of 8pm Thursday, Tropical Storm Nate was located near the coast of Honduras. Sustained winds were at 40 mph. The system has been battling some wind shear today, as well as land interaction with Central America, but it will once again move into open water in the western Caribbean late tonight. Further organization is strengthening is likely over the next 24 hours.
Heavy rains have fallen across parts of Nicaragua and Honduras. Flash flooding and mud slides remain a possibility in these areas over the next day or so.
Up next is the Yucatan Peninsula. Nate is forecast to be near hurricane intensity when it approaches the Yucatan late Friday, bringing direct
impacts from wind, storm surge, and heavy rainfall. A tropical storm
warning and a hurricane watch are in effect for a portion of this
Over the last 24 hours models have come into much better agreement regarding Nate’s track into the U.S. this weekend. The 12Z Euro run today actually fell more into line with the GFS, which all along has indicated a weaker storm tracking further west into Louisiana. While there are still some questions in regard to intensity, the National Hurricane Center is still expecting Nate to become a hurricane in the Gulf before making landfall along the central Gulf coast late Saturday night/early Sunday morning. Those along the Louisiana coast, eastward into the Florida Panhandle, should monitor the progress of Nate closely as we head into the weekend.
Other than churned up seas along Florida’s west coast and breezy SSE winds, Nate will have no direct impacts across the Florida Peninsula. However, scattered showers and storms are in the forecast through the weekend.
At 5pm Wednesday, Tropical Depression 16 was located just off the coast of Nicaragua in the western Caribbean and was moving NW at 7 mph. This system is expected to become Tropical Storm Nate within the next 24 hours.
Through the end of the work week, Nate will head north, past the Yucatan Peninsula, and into the southern Gulf by early Saturday. Other than some land interaction with Central America, there isn’t a lot working against this system in the short-term. Water temperatures are in the mid 80s and upper-level winds are favorable for further strengthening over the next 2-3 days. Nate is currently forecast to become a hurricane by Saturday afternoon and move into the Panhandle on Sunday.
There has been a pretty wide-spread between our two most reliable models, the GFS and Euro so far. The GFS currently favors a faster moving, weaker system, tracking further west into Louisiana. The Euro has been insisting on a stronger storm, tracking further east into the Florida Panhandle. The differences between the two are understandable, given the fact that this is still a fairly weak system. Over the next day or two, we can expect to see better agreement between the two as the storm develops further.
A track further west would greatly reduce impacts in the Tampa bay area, while a track further east would bring storm surge, heavy rain and the possibility of tornadoes. Stay with us over the next few days as we fine tune the forecast over the next few days.
As we get set to close out the work week, we’re watching an area of disturbed weather central Cuba. The National Hurricane Center is currently giving this a 50% chance of development over the next few days as it moves northward and eventually up the east coast of Florida.
A weak area of low pressure is likely to form through the day on Friday as this disturbance moves over the Florida Straits. Any time you have an area of low pressure in a favorable environment over very warm water, it has to be watched closely. That being said, even if we do see something develop, it would likely be weak with minimal impacts. The one thing we can count on though is increased rain chances across most of the state through the weekend and into early next week. Rain totals will be on the order of 1-3″ across a lot of Central and South Florida, with isolated higher amounts possible especially in South Florida.
We’re getting into the time of year when ‘homegrown’ activity in the Gulf of Mexico and Western Caribbean become more prevalent. Fitting into that mold, many models as of late have hinted at lowering pressure across the western Caribbean late next week. It’s something you’ll hear us talk more about as we get closer to that time frame, but for now it is just reminder that hurricane season is not over and we need to stay prepared. Hopefully we’ll get through the next few weeks unscathed and we’ll be home free, as things quiet down greatly in November.