Gulf remains quiet as peak hurricane season approaches, there might be a reason why

Nick Natario Image
Thursday, September 8, 2022
Hurricane-weary victims are wary despite calmer season
Some good news: The active hurricane season that forecasters predicted has materialized only four named storms through August. But the possibility for accelerated storm formation can still happen for the rest of the season, experts say.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- As peak hurricane season approaches, it's been relatively quiet so far, which is very rare.

Remember the stretch of hot summer days? It may explain the lack of hurricanes in the gulf.

With warm water and La Niña, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted an above-average hurricane season with upwards of 21 named storms. Peak hurricane season is days away, and so far, we've had only five named storms.

But Hurricane Harvey survivor, Melvin O'Neal isn't celebrating.

"There has been nothing, yet," O'Neal said.

The possibility still exists. After all, hurricane season lasts until November.

Texas A&M atmospheric sciences professor Robert Korty said the chances of a storm are declining.

"You can really let your guard down by the end of November. But, I think that the odds of a quiet season are increasing with each passing day here," Korty explained.

Korty said hot summer weather kept storms away. However, with warm gulf water and cooler conditions right now, there are chances a storm could come.

This type of quiet hurricane season has rarely happened before.

The National Hurricane Center said no tropical cyclones in the basin during August is incredibly rare. It's happened only two other times before.

Fifteen years ago, it happened and remained relatively quiet for the rest of the year.

The only other time was about 60 years ago. That's when Hurricane Carla hit, devastating Galveston and the Texas coast.

Korty said the current conditions are similar to when Carla made landfall.

"It does not rule storms that form near the coast, and the gulf is quite shallow off of the Texas coast," Korty said. "There's warm water all the way down to the bottom."

When will we be in the clear from hurricanes?

It's quiet in the gulf now, but the Atlantic is active with storms. Korty said it could remain this way. ABC13 asked him when Houstonians can breathe a sigh of relief this hurricane season.

"Well, I think that they can feel lucky at this point because tropical storms are most likely to affect the western gulf in the first half of the season," Korty explained.

With hurricane season lasting until November, Korty said we shouldn't let our guards down until then. A storm survivor's hope never develops because they've lived through plenty already.

"I've never been in water like it was when Harvey passed," O'Neal recalled. "Never."

As for 2023, experts said we won't get a good idea of how active or inactive it'll be until next spring.

For updates on this story, follow Nick Natario on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.