The past few years remind us of how October hurricanes can threaten us



  • Since 1950, 19 hurricanes have made landfall in the United States in October, including 10 in Florida.
  • Five hurricanes have hit the United States in October since 2016.
  • Parts of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and western Atlantic are prone to storms.

The hurricane season has turned quickly in recent weeks, going from one of the calmest starts in decades to a devastating pair of storms: Ian and Fiona. We are now entering the final two months of the season and the past few years illustrate why we still need to keep a close eye on the Atlantic.

Parts of the Gulf and Southeast Coasts are most favored for seeing hurricanes make landfall in October based on past history, and that’s especially true for Florida. It becomes harder for hurricanes to make landfall farther north in October as upper wind patterns change and the jet stream slips farther south, but Super Hurricane Sandy broke many weather rules of thumb when it hit the northeast in 2012.

From 1950 to 2021, 19 hurricanes made landfall in the United States in October, not including Sandy since it did not officially make landfall as a tropical cyclone. Ten of those occurred in Florida, followed by Louisiana with six.

The past few years have shown the impacts that hurricanes can still have on the United States in October.

Hurricanes Matthew, Nate, Michael, Delta, and Zeta have all made landfall in the United States in October since 2016. The United States was spared from season-ending hurricanes last year.

Michael had the most devastating impacts of these recent hurricanes as it was an extremely rare U.S. Category 5 landfall in the Florida Panhandle on October 10, 2018.

Michael’s storm surge caused catastrophic damage in Mexico Beach, Florida. Wind damage was extreme throughout its journey from the Florida Panhandle to southern Georgia.

Typical Late Season Development Areas and Tracks

Although the climatological peak of hurricane season – September 10 – has passed, residents of the Gulf and Atlantic coasts should remain prepared for a tropical storm or hurricane. About one-fifth of all hurricanes affected in the United States occurred in October and November.

On average, a hurricane forms each year in october, according to the NOAA. The highest number of hurricanes to form in October was five in 2010, although 2020 has come close to four.

During October, areas of tropical storm and hurricane formation move westward toward the western Caribbean Sea, eastern Gulf of Mexico, and far western Atlantic Ocean as part of “Cabo Verde” of hurricane season, with the development of East African waves in the east. Atlantic Ocean, fades.

Hurricane season is calming down as we head into November, especially for the United States. There are only three known hurricanes in the United States in the month of November dating back to 1861.

Hurricane Kate in 1985 was the last hurricane of the season to make landfall in the United States. Kate landed in Mexico Beach, Florida on Nov. 21, a week before Thanksgiving.

The primary journalistic mission of The Weather Company is to report on the latest weather news, the environment and the importance of science in our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

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