TBH... This Hurricane Season Is Pretty Normal

From time to time I address the human condition known as the recentcy bias

We're all naturally inclined towards it... it's natural to think that whatever is happening RIGHT. NOW. is somehow meaningful, impactful, extraordinary etc. then something before it.  

But the truth is... that's almost never the case.  

Due to the recent spate of tragic hurricane activity, we've kind been feeling like the world's ending... more or less. That's not really the case

Each month during hurricane season, I break activity levels and how far through the season we really are. 

This is from my story from September 1st 

It's the most active month of hurricane season historically, with the absolute peak being September 10th. So, let's take a look at how much of the season is really left by using historical activity as a guide.   

Going back to 1851, and tracking the Atlantic hurricane season: 

  • There have been 574 tropical storms in September 
  • That equals 35 percent of all tropical storms  
  • 396, or 40 percent, of all hurricanes formed in September

That's an average 3.5 tropical storms and 2.5 hurricanes during the month. 

But back to the original question... How far through the season are we statistically? 

The answer is only about 33 percent based on hurricane development and 38 percent based on tropical storm development. 

Ironically, we were hit by Irma on September 10th, the historical peak of  season. Since then, what we've seen throughout the month and season is actually only slightly above average.

  • Since 1851 we've averaged 10 tropical storms per year and six hurricanes per year 
  • Right now, we're at number 13
  • Historically we only average 2.5 tropical storms and one hurricane in Oct/Nov
  • So, we're pacing around 16.5 named storms this season 
  • Over the past 20 years, the average has been 15 per year (with a high of 28 and a low of 8)

So, what's different about this year? 

  1. We've been personally impacted
  2. many of the islands we care about have been far too often in the cross hairs

Do you recall the 2010, 2011 and 2012 seasons being especially active? Probably not unless you were in the north-east during Sandy in the fall of 2012. Yet each of those years we had 19 named storms. 

In years like this one where storms are steered towards populated areas we care about it seems unusual. In Florida we'd been especially fortunate for more than a decade after being extremely unlucky for two years (04'&05'). 

Florida averages being hit a hurricane about every 4.5 years and a major hurricane about every 8 years. 

We went 11 years between hurricanes (Wilma in 05' until Hermine in 2016) and about 12 years between major hurricanes.  

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