So far this hurricane season, it’s been wimpy-time in the Atlantic. Eight tropical cyclones have spun up counting what is currently Tropical Depression #8, but not one has had enough oomph to become a full-blown hurricane. (Number eight won’t make it, either.)
Does the augur well for the remainder of the season?
I wouldn’t count on it. Climatologically speaking, we’re now in the hurricane red zone. By that I mean, we’ve entered the seasonal lair of the monsters. A quick analysis of the 20 most intense hurricanes to slam the U.S. since 1851 shows that all but two sliced ashore between mid-August and the last week of September.
The two that didn’t? Hugo in 1989 (October 15th, South Carolina) and a cat 4 hurricane in 1898 (October 2nd, Georgia).
It’s ironic that both of those hurricanes bear some relationship to my novel, Eyewall. Hugo, or at least a NOAA Hurricane Hunter trapped briefly in Hugo’s eye, provided the initial inspiration for Eyewall.
The 1898 storm thundered onshore over Cumberland Island, Georgia, just a stone’s throw from the setting of Eyewall on St. Simons Island.
So don’t let the succession of flabby (and largely standoffish) storms we’ve had so far lull you into complacency.
It still could get hairy.
-August 19, 2011-
IMAGE: NOAA satellite shot of Hurricane Katrina just prior to landfall, August 29, 2005. Katrina is number 3 on the intensity list (based on air pressure at landfall), just behind the Labor Day Florida Keys’ Hurricane of 1935 and Hurricane Camille in 1969.