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Tracking the Tropics: What are the chances of a holiday hurricane this season?

WSPA Spartanburg logo WSPA Spartanburg 11/23/2022 Dylan Abad
Tracking the Tropics: What are the chances of a holiday hurricane this season? © Provided by WSPA Spartanburg Tracking the Tropics: What are the chances of a holiday hurricane this season?

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) - With the end of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season in sight, the tropics have finally wound down, but that doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods yet.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in a Wednesday outlook that no new tropical cyclones are expected to develop in the Atlantic basin through the next five days. The news comes after an active few weeks in the tropics following Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Nicole, which crisscrossed Florida 43 days apart from one another.

Thankfully, “No tropical activity is expected through the Thanksgiving weekend,” WFLA Meteorologist Leigh Spann said. “The ocean temperature has continued to cool and that decreases the likelihood of any significant tropical development.”

Max Defender 8 Meteorologist Rebecca Barry added, "This could not look quieter right now in terms of the tropics. You can see we've really transitioned in weather patterns to our fall weather pattern globally.”

While the Atlantic basin is currently empty, it's important to note there is still one week left in the 2022 hurricane season, which officially ends Wednesday, Nov. 30 this year. Further, the NHC’s five-day outlook doesn’t take into consideration the likelihood of an off-season storm or hurricane.

Since 1984, there have been a total of five off-season storms reaching hurricane strength. The latest was in 2016 when Category 1 Hurricane Alex hit Bermuda in mid-January. Minimal damage was inflicted.

"It’s so rare that it happens,” said WIAT Meteorologist Dave Nussbaum. “Alex was an anomaly in 2016. That one did bring some issues having it come just far enough south for it to get that tropical characteristic versus a Nor’easter system out there."

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) defines the hurricane off-season as taking place between May 31 and Dec. 1. However, NOAA says most (97%) of all Atlantic tropical cyclones occur during the regular hurricane season which runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.

In the past six years, there have been six tropical storm formations and one subtropical storm formation in the tropics.

“If something were to form, the more frequent cold fronts generally help to push systems away from the U.S. coast,” Spann said.

"The good news is with storms that do form during non-peak times like December, like January, a lot of times they're fish storms,” Barry said. “A lot of times they're just out over the Atlantic. A lot of times they're on the weak side as well. So if we did see any formation, we probably would not have to worry too much about it."

Tracking the Tropics streams at 2 p.m. ET every Wednesday during hurricane season. For the latest updates, check out our Tracking the Tropics website.

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