Louisiana Slowly Moving Out of Tropical Prime-Time
Hurricane Season 2020 has been a __________. Since your family might be reading this, I figured I would let you fill in the blank. (Wow, do you kiss your mom with that mouth?) Okay, I agree. This hurricane season has been one we won't forget even though most of us would just as soon see the entire year of 2020 be frozen in ice and shot into the surface of the sun.
Since we can't do that, we can offer you a little bit of history and climatology that might help you understand that the prospects of having to "hunker down" again between now and November 30th is actually growing smaller.
Just so you know, Louisiana primetime, when it comes to hurricanes and tropical storms, usually starts in mid to late August. The worst of the season runs through the peak in September and finally starts to calm down about now, which is mid to late October.
That should mean we have some good news to share right?
Let's look at some pictures from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, shall we? This first graphic depicts tropical storm formation for the days between October 21st and the end of the month.
As you can see, the tropical Atlantic Basin is still quite active in the latter part of October. Our biggest area of concern is the Caribbean Sea. That's where Hurricane Delta came from. But if there is a silver lining if you look at the tracks from these October storms almost all of the tracks trend toward the east and northeast which generally means less action for the Gulf of Mexico.
Well, that's quite a drop off in the total number of systems compared to the last weeks of October, isn't it? Still, the Caribbean Sea remains our Achilles' Heel in the tropical system sweepstakes. But you can see just how quiet the Gulf of Mexico starts to get once the winds of November start sweeping cold fronts through the Gulf South.
Finally, you can see a lot more open ocean than red dots in this mid-November depiction of tropical activity. Even the Caribbean Sea has calmed down considerably with tropical formation basically limited to the areas around Panama and Guatemala. The open waters of the Atlantic also spawn storms during mid-November but even there the statistics show things getting very quiet.
At last, this is what we were hoping to see in mid-August, but we have to wait until the end of November to get this kind of quietness in the tropics. As you can see, we have very few systems anywhere that form during this final official ten days of the Hurricane Season. Even if storms do form, they generally do not form, nor enter the Gulf of Mexico and that would be a blessing for a lot of us in Louisiana.
The bottom line is this. Yes, tropical systems can and do form any time of the year. They are less likely to form and affect the Gulf of Mexico once we are out of October. So, let's hold on for a few more weeks and hope that Halloween will usher in a season of quieter weather for a very storm-weary state of Louisiana.