(WTNH) — Hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, but it’s not uncommon to see storms form before June 1. That’s why the World Meteorological Organization and the National Hurricane Center are mulling over whether to start hurricane season a few weeks earlier.
“We’ve had a lot of storms named prior to the start of hurricane season in recent years — we had two last year — and some of these storms make landfall.”
Over the past few years, storms have been forming in the Atlantic prior to the start of hurricane season. As a result, NOAA has considered moving the start date of hurricane season from June 1 to May 15.
Phil Klotzbach specializes in Atlantic basin seasonal hurricane forecasts at Colorado State University. He says there are pros and cons of moving hurricane season to an earlier start date.
“These weaker storms may be forming earlier, and you want people to pay attention, so the question is, how long can we keep the public engaged in hurricane season if it starts May 15? I’ve had a lot of years where I put out a seasonal forecast for an active season and by mid-August, not much has happened, and they think it’s a bust and it’s a quiet season. For example, 2004, extremely active hurricane season, and we didn’t get our first storm, Alex, until August 1. We had nothing through June and July and it still ended up an active season.”
Last week, the decision came down that the National Hurricane Center will start issuing routine Tropical Weather Outlooks starting on May 15. The goal is to alert the public of any potential formation before the start of hurricane season.
“The challenge is, the Atlantic Hurricane season is extremely peaked. The season officially starts June 1, but through August 15, on average, you only have one hurricane. Most of the hurricane activity occurs from mid-August to mid-October. So, if you move the date back to May 15, you have a full three months, where, in general, in most years, not that much happens. We get some weaker storms, and sometimes if you get a slow-moving weak storm, that can cause a tremendous amount of damage due to flooding. But when it comes to hurricanes, we typically don’t see many hurricanes, if any, until you get to August.”
This year, hurricane season will start on June 1. The World Meteorological Organization will meet this month to decide whether the date should be moved in the future.
Tropical storms and hurricanes can form in any month, even January and December! About 31 named storms have formed in the month of May since 1851.