In June, look to Gulf of Mexico for warning signs of developing hurricanes
Updated On: Jun 11 2013 03:25:12 PM CDT
Most of the time I hear folks ask "what's brewing off Africa?" They assume that it is the area of greatest concern for a developing hurricane. Even the seasonal forecasting gurus focus their discussion on the “main development region” which is the tropical Atlantic from west of Africa through the Caribbean. However, during June on the upper Texas coast all eyes should be in the Gulf! This map depicts all Tropical Storms or Hurricanes whose center passed within 65 miles of Galveston. Note that all of the storms formed in the Gulf of Mexico. What this means to us is that we will have little lead time between the formation of a June storm and its impact.
One only has to look back to Tropical Storm Allison, in 2001, to be reminded of this. Allison formed less than 200 miles south of the coast and made landfall the same day. While unremarkable for winds or surge, Allison proved to be a prodigious rain maker while its remnants lingered over southeast Texas. The resulting flooding made Allison the costliest U.S. storm not to reach hurricane intensity and caused over 35 deaths.
Some folks think we cannot have a major (category 3, 4 or 5) hurricane in June. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Hurricane Audrey, 1957 formed in the Bay of Campeche on June 25th, moved steadily north and rapidly intensified, coming ashore on June 27th near Sabine Pass. Audrey was a large Category 4 and produced a deadly storm surge contributing to over 400 deaths.
This morning there is a trough of low pressure extending from the Yucatan to near Florida. While there is a remote chance of it developing into a tropical cyclone, it is not expected to move in our direction.