Active Tropics in November

By: Stacy Berman
By: Stacy Berman

The 2009 hurricane season has been rather quiet thus far, but now as the season winds down, things heat up with Ida.

Hurricane Season officially begins June 1st and last until November 30th.  The peak of Hurricane Season usually occurs around the middle of September and by November, most have forgotten that the tropics can wreck havoc. 

However, on occasion, storms form during the eleventh month of the year.  November, 2001 featured a category four hurricane.  Hurricane Michelle formed during the end of October, but made landfall in the southwestern part of Cuba on November 5, 2001 as a category four hurricane.  The storm caused billions of dollars in damage and killed 17 people.  Michelle was not the only November Hurricane.   Another Cat 4 Hurricane was Hurricane Lenny which made landfall in the Virgin Islands and Lesser Antilles on November 17, 1999.  This major hurricane killed 17 people and caused millions of dollars in damage.  Lenny was the strongest November hurricane until Michelle in 2001.

The reason for all of this information is simple.  Anyone living by the coast, should always be prepared.  Although a strong tropical system in November is rare, it can certainly happen and as the past has shown, a storm can cause major destruction and even kill people.

The one storm we are watching here at the Newsplex is Tropical Storm Ida, which earlier today was Hurricane Ida.  The ninth named storm of the 2009 season remains several thousands of miles away from the Commonwealth.  However, we are watching the remnants which could eventually work northward and affect our weather.  Of course, the current track of the storm is inconsistent, but we'll continue to watch it.  

Ida is in interesting storms.    The storm is pretty small in comparison to other systems, with tropical storm force winds extending only 70 miles outside of the center.  Ida did make landfall in Nicaragua earlier in the day, helping to downgrade the storm from a minimal hurricane to a tropical storm.  The biggest threat from Ida will be the rain.  Flooding is possible in Central America the next few days.  The current path of Ida takes the storm northward into the Gulf of Mexico and with water temperatures above 80°F, this could be the fuel to feed Ida.  While, no Tropical watches or warnings have been issued for any of the gulf coast states, residents should remain aware and no that tropical system can form during any time of the year.

If Ida does make landfall in the United States as a hurricane, it would be the only land falling hurricane during the 2009 season.  That's a big "if" for now and if no hurricanes make landfall this season, not too many will complain. 

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