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September Hurricane Climatology

UPDATED August 26, 2013

By WeatherBug Meteorologists

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As August quickly comes to an end later this week, that means the busiest time of the Atlantic hurricane season is just around the corner. September is prime hurricane time in Atlantic with the climatological peak of the season occurring on September 10. On average, four storms develop during the month, which is more than any other month of the season, which runs until November 30.

By September 1, an "average" season would have already seen four named storms. Two of these would have been hurricanes, with one a major hurricane, Category 3 or higher (winds more than 111 mph). So far in 2013, 6 named storms have formed but none have become hurricanes.

Development of tropical weather systems is not that much different from what`s seen during August. Tropical storms and hurricanes can occur pretty much anywhere over the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and the Atlantic Ocean as far east as the Cape Verde Islands.

Clockwise flow of air around a large area of high pressure dominating the north-central Atlantic helps to carry tropical waves westward across the still very warm ocean waters once they emerge off Africa`s west coast.

The westward extension of the north-central Atlantic high pressure system helps to determine whether storms will track through the Caribbean and into the Gulf, or make the turn up the U.S. East Coast.

Early-season cool air outbreaks across the central U.S., however, can cause steering currents in the mid-to-upper-levels of the atmosphere to turn more out of the south and southwest. This motion of air tends to pick up westward moving tropical systems and turn them northward, which enhances the threat to the U.S. Atlantic Seaboard.

The 2012 season was quite active with 19 named storms and 10 hurricanes. Of these storms, two formed in September. Hurricane Michael kicked off the month, staying across the east-central Atlantic Ocean. It was the fifth major hurricane in the satellite era to develop from a non-tropical origin. Hurricane Nadine followed, making three loops in the eastern Atlantic. It produced a wind gust to 87 mph at the Wind Power Plant on Santa Maria Island. Otherwise, it was no threat to the U.S.

Nineteen named storms also formed in 2011, with 7 becoming hurricanes.

Other notable hurricanes that have moved up and along the East Coast in September over the past several years include:

  • Hurricane Gloria - 1985
  • Hurricane Hugo - 1989
  • Hurricane Bob - 1991
  • Hurricane Fran - 1996
  • Hurricanes Dennis and Floyd - 1999
  • Hurricane Isabel - 2003

Be sure to check with WeatherBug often for the latest information on the 2013 Hurricane Season. Be sure to keep WeatherBug active to receive the latest weather in your neighborhood and get the latest updates anywhere on Twitter.

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