Can Florida expect more storms as hurricane season comes to a close?

Can Florida expect more storms as hurricane season comes to a close?

With just weeks left in the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season, what can Florida expect? FOX 35 Storm Team Meteorologist Noah Bergren breaks down everything that could happen — and what has happened in the past — as the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season comes to a close on Nov. 30.

What to expect as hurricane season comes to a close

Over the coming weeks, the Atlantic basin looks very hostile. While ocean surface temperatures remain at or above average late in the season, the increasing effects of El Niño mean that formation in the open Atlantic will be somewhat difficult.

Remember, hurricanes form primarily from two pivotal meteorological components: warm water and high light winds.

Strong winds at the top can tear apart tornadoes and/or prevent them from forming. The term for this is “wind shear” in the weather world — an ingredient that is necessary for tornadoes to occur, but bad for tornadoes.

The good news is that wind shear will remain as strong or even more widespread over the Atlantic, which is very common in late fall and winter in an El Niño pattern. However, the Caribbean is one area that is still capable of generating storms.

The area shown in the graphic above, which extends across Cuba and off the east coast of Florida, shows the location of the storms can be formed, not where they were expected to end up. This is because the area is usually protected from the more aggressive wind shear over the Atlantic Ocean late in the season.

The yellow shaded area does not mean storms I cannot They track outside this area, but are historically more likely to form in these distinct areas during November.

There are some hints that a final storm may attempt to swirl into the Caribbean next week, but the chances of that happening appear fairly low at the moment.

Is it rare for hurricanes to hit Florida in November?

In general, the majority of hurricanes and tropical systems form before November 1st. However, it is certainly not all of them.

In fact, although there are far fewer storms in November, there have been some impactful and less common events hitting the Sunshine State.

The most recent Hurricane Nicole was in November 2022. It destroyed many communities on the east coast of Florida with erosion and upwelling.

Looking back: A Florida mother pinned under a truck after a tree was snapped during Hurricane Nicole

Furthermore, since the mid-1800s, only three hurricanes have struck Florida with hurricane strength — Nicole in 2022, Kate in 1985, and an unnamed hurricane in 1935.

Hurricane Nicole on November 10, 2022 (Image: NOAA)

The latter is generally referred to as the “Yankee” hurricane because it came from the north and then struck southern Florida.

Hurricane Kate was at one time a Category 4 hurricane and made landfall in the Florida Panhandle. This was the first hurricane to make landfall in the Florida Panhandle since Hurricane Eloise in 1975.

Fifteen other storms that have struck Florida since the mid-19th century were either tropical storms or tropical depressions. Other more recent storms have included, but are not limited to, Eta in 2020, Ida in 2009, Paloma in 2008, Mitch in 1998, and Gordon in 1994.

Can hurricanes form in the Atlantic Ocean in December after hurricane season ends?

Yes! However, it is very rare for it to affect Florida.

Names of hurricanes: What happens if we reach the end of the list of hurricane names for 2023 amid an “above normal” season?

Only one tropical system has affected Florida in December, a 1925 tropical storm that moved northeast from Fort Myers to Melbourne. Winds reached 60 mph at landfall on December 1, 1925 when it came ashore in Fort Myers.

Note the red shaded area in the image below – there were only nine hurricanes developing in the entire Atlantic basin in December. However, none of them came close to the United States. The closest was an unnamed Category 1 hurricane that made a loop off the coast of North and South Carolina.

The most recent hurricanes to form in December were Epsilon in 2005, Olga in 2001, Nicole in 1998, and Lily in 1984.

The main reason why development is uncommon in December is that by that point, ocean surface temperatures are too cold to support or maintain tropical convection. Even if the wind were gone, the water later in the year is so cold, compared to what it was earlier in the year, that it would be very difficult for something to form.

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