Tropics: Not a Record, But A Rough Season

September 16, 2008

The 2008 tropical storm and hurricane season is thankfully in a lull after the wreckage of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike.
Many have commented that this must be a record season: not even close. During the 2005 season, we were already on the “R” storms by September 18 (Rita); we’re just up to “J” now (Josephine formed right after Ike but has since dissipated in the Atlantic).

Although 2008 has certainly been above average in activity, the more notable feature is the high number of U.S. landfalls that have taken place. A total of seven tropical cyclones have struck the USA this year: Cristobal, Dolly, Edouard, Fay, Gustav, Hanna, and Ike. Three of these were hurricanes at landfall and four were tropical storms.

Indeed, Texas has taken three of these direct hits: Dolly, Edouard, and Ike (Gustav was a near miss). Two of these were hurricanes with Ike by far the most devastating. In fact, preliminary damage assessments indicate Ike may be the 3rd costliest hurricane (in terms of dollars, not lives) behind Katrina (Louisiana, 2005) at #1 and Andrew (Florida, 1992) as #2.

Thus, it’s been a rough season and it’s certainly possible the Gulf will see another hurricane or tropical storm before the window of risk closes.

The good news: the odds of Texas or Louisiana getting one drop off dramatically after October 10. This means if Texoma is to be brushed by another storm it will probably have to form in the next two or three weeks. The jet stream is dropping southward as it does this time every year; this would tend to steer any developing storms into Florida.
What’s more likely to affect Texoma would be a Pacific storm getting caught up in the jet stream and sending a plume of moisture our way from the west or southwest. This happens every few years from September into October. In fact, the remnants of Pacific tropical storm “Lowell” had a hand in heavy rain over western Oklahoma last week.

At the moment there are no threats indicated in either ocean and nothing brewing, either.

A reminder to click on the “National Hurricane Center” link from the weather page if you’re curious what areas are being watched for trouble, advisories when any future storms form, or for a look at previous storm histories in either ocean.
Take Care,
Steve LaNore
Chief Meteorologist
KXII-TV
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