It is June 30th 2007, where are all the Hurricanes?

As June 2007 comes to an end let’s take stock to see where the season stands. So far the Atlantic Basin has had 2 tropical storms – Andrea and Barry with Chantal to be next. Seems like a pretty quiet season so far, doesn’t it?

To see where we stand, let’s recall some other record breaking years, starting with 2005 which as we all know was a record-breaking season. If you had to guess, how many storms had formed by the end of June 2005? Well? 5? 7? By June 30, 2005, there had been a total of 2 storms – Arlene and Bret. It wasn’t until July 5 that we had both Tropical Storm Cindy and Dennis. We had Emily on July 11th and then Franklin on July 22. Gert arrived on July 23. So, we had 2 storms through the end of June in 2005 and 7 storms by the end of July 2005.

The second busiest season was 1933 had one storm form in May and one storm form in June. Just like 2007. July ended with five storms and the season ended with 21 storms. 1934 also had one May storm and one June storm, and three storms by the end of July, again just like 2007. It ended with 11 storms. So a record breaking season, and a below average season both had the same number of storms by the end of June.

Now, looking at 2004, another season that was memorable. By the end of June 2004 we already had 0 storms. Zero? Seriously? Yes. Alex didn’t arrive until July 31st. But by the end of August 2004 though, we had already had Hermine. 2004 was memorable not for the shear number of storms, but for the places they hit.

Some other seasons:
2002: 1 by the end of July, season ended with Lili.
2003: By June 30th, we had had Ana (April 20-24) and Bill (June 29-July 02) and we ended up the season with Peter.
2004: Zero storms by the end of June and 1 on July 31st. Ended with Otto.
2005: 2 storms by the end of June and ended with Zeta.
2006: 1 storm by the end of June, 3 by the end of July, ended with Isaac.

(Interesting note, in 1981, Arlene formed on May 6-May 9 and Bret from June 29-July 1, so the season was similar to 2007 so far and 1981 ended with 12 storms including a subtropical storm in November).

So what does it mean that there have “only” been two storms by the end of June, 2007? Absolutely nothing in our view. Busy seasons like 2005 and 1933 have had a June like this, while more quiet seasons like 1981 and 1934 have had similar Junes.

In fact, there are only 13 known seasons (as of 2007) since 1851 that have had 2 tropical storms form in June. June 2007 has only had one storm form during the month, but one in May.

The Chicken Littles would have you think that the Junes of 2005, 2006, and 2007 should be significantly worse than the Junes of 1933 and 1934 given we’ve had nearly 75 years of carbon emissions. Perhaps the link isn’t quite as strong as some people want to believe? Remember that it only takes one storm – see Andrew, the first storm of the season in 1992 hitting Miami – to have a devastating and memorable season. Preparation is key whether we have one storm or ten storms.

Will 2007 be a busy season? We’ll let you know in November 2007, but it is difficult to predict the rest of the season based on the season up through June.