Tropics remain quiet but Oct. storms sometimes affect South Fla.


Overall, the 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season has been extremely inactive.  So far, the five named storms have produced an Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index (that accounts for the number, intensity and duration of storms) of only 36.  The Atlantic typically has an ACE value of 83 by this time of year.

The tropics are currently quiet and no tropical storms are expected to threaten South Florida for at least five days.

It is tempting for Floridians to let their guard down now that we are in October.  We should, however, take a look back at history.  The graphic below shows the formation points of 310 tropical storms over the Atlantic Basin during the month of October from the National Hurricane Center's historical data set extending from 1851 to 2013. 

Long term averages show that the Atlantic produces about two tropical storms with one of those becoming a hurricane during this month.  Last year we saw two tropical storms form during the month of October and one storm that formed during late September that persisted into early October.

One of the preferred areas for development during October is over the western Caribbean Sea.  Tropical cyclones from this area often move northward with some of them moving over South Florida. 

Examples of other quiet hurricanes seasons with low ACE values but also with late starting tropical cyclones affecting Florida include 1994 (Tropical Storm Gordon) and 1987 (Hurricane Floyd).   Both of these tropical cyclones formed over the western Caribbean before moving over South Florida.

Let's remember the saying "October – Not Over."