FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Usually by now, three hurricanes have emerged.
Yet not one has formed and the storm season is already half over. If a monster storm doesn’t appear by Wednesday morning, it will set a record for the latest-arriving hurricane since the satellite era began in the mid-1960s.
“It’s very unusual,” said Bryan Norcross, a hurricane expert for the Weather Channel. “Why this is happening is the subject of a lot of conversation, and not much clarity.”
• When Tropical Storm Gabrielle failed to grow into a hurricane last week, it set a modern-era record for the most named systems to arise before the first hurricane. Gabrielle was the seventh named storm, and the previous record, set in 2002, was six named storms before the first hurricane.
• Sept. 10 – Tuesday – is the peak of the season, when a hurricane is most likely to be swirling in the Atlantic. Yet it appears that no systems in the eastern Atlantic will develop until Wednesday or after.
• On average, the first hurricane emerges on Aug. 10, the second on Aug. 28 and the third on Sept. 9, putting this season about a month behind schedule, hurricane-wise.
• Only five times since the satellite era have there been no hurricanes in August. And the first Category 3 or higher usually spins up on Sept. 4.
Why haven’t any hurricanes formed so far?
Large areas of dry sinking air across the tropical Atlantic have deprived systems of the moist atmosphere they need to develop. Also, “pockets of wind shear” have disrupted systems from growing, said Dennis Feltgen, a National Hurricane Center spokesman.