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Meteorological Mysteries: September 10th, the peak of hurricane season

Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 6:44 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Even as summer ends, storms in the tropics are still firing up. September is known as the peak of hurricane season based on data collected by the National Hurricane Center.

“We usually see the bulk of Atlantic basin season hurricanes about 86% of them occur in the months of August, September, and October. The climatological peak of the season is September 10th. We tend to see a little secondary peak in activity around the middle of October.” Kelly Godsey, Senior Service Hydrologist/Meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Tallahassee explained.

On average, September typically has four named storms with one of those storms strengthening into a major hurricane. So far, two storms strengthened in the Atlantic in September. Larry, which strengthened into a major hurricane, and Mindy, which made landfall on St. Vincent Island Wednesday night.

The rise in storms as fall begins is due to climbing sea surface temperatures.

“But the water, it takes a little bit longer to heat up and we don’t see that peak until we get into late August and into September where most of the Atlantic is favorable for tropical development.” Godsey described.

In addition, the west coast of Africa typically sees an increase in activity late in the season.

“We see these waves that move from the west coast of Africa. They come into the Caribbean, some even get all the way into the Gulf of Mexico where they’ll develop there. When we get into September it’s an entire basin that lights up for activity.” Godsey stated

So, as we enjoy brightly colored leaves and pumpkin-flavored beverages, meteorologists continue to carefully survey the tropics.

Even though the traditional peak of hurricane season runs through October, hurricane season continues through the end of November.

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