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Weather forecasting and analysis, space and historic events, climate information

2:50 PM | Tropical season may still have an active period left in it

Paul Dorian


The Atlantic tropical basin has been rather quiet during the last few weeks, but it appears as if there may be more action before the season winds down for good, and this is certainly not too surprising. While the climatological peak of the Atlantic hurricane season has indeed passed by in mid-September, there is often a second pulse of tropical storms during the month of October. There are a couple of possible meteorological reasons as to why there is often a second max of tropical storms during October. The first has to do with the fact that there are frontal systems that can now make their way all the down to the Gulf of Mexico or to the Southeast US coastline after having great difficulty of doing this during the summer months. Frontal systems in the Deep South tend to spawn thunderstorms and these can, under the right circumstances, gradually develop into tropical systems. Additionally, there tends to be more frequent large high pressure systems near or off the US east coast during this time of year and the large-scale circulation around these systems can help to spin up tropical storms to their south and east over the still warm Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico waters.

As it turns out, the latter part of the upcoming weekend will feature a strong, large high pressure system along the east coast and this system will have to be watched early next week to see if it acts to help promote the growth of a tropical system. There are currently two areas of interest in the tropics with the first being near the Bahamas and the second system will move over the Caribbean Sea this weekend and it could cause some heavy rainfall in Puerto Rico later this weekend. Also, a third tropical wave has just moved off of the western African coast and it too will have to be watched over the next several days.

By the way, the strongest winds ever recorded at Philadelphia International Airport, 94 mph, occurred during October 1954 as Hurricane Hazel passed to the west.