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Quiet Start To Hurricane Season Doesn’t Mean It’s Over

September is usually the busiest month for hurricanes.

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Fred Schmude storm watch manager with ImpactWeather
Fred Schmude, storm watch manager with ImpactWeather, says despite the quiet start, there could be three more Atlantic hurricanes this month.

Things are quiet at the operations center at ImpactWeather, a private weather forecasting company in southeast Houston.

It’s storm watch manager, Fred Schmude, said that’s not to say that work is boring right now.

“For a meteorologist, I don’t think that I’d ever say it’s boring,” he said. “There can be times where you have to keep yourself busy and try to focus on those things that you’re not so busy with when it’s busy, but there’s always something to do.”

Fortunately, there are currently no hurricanes to monitor — despite this time of year usually being the busiest for tropical storms. Schmude can’t say why this year is different, but he can tell you what the immediate cause is for the lack of hurricanes.

“The main reason has to do with cooler water temperatures across the Atlantic basin. And that’s one ingredient you need for tropical development, you need warm water,” he said. “And since it’s cooler, you just don’t have the heat energy to produce those tropical systems.”

At the beginning of the hurricane season, forecasters generally agreed that activity would be lower than usual.

ImpactWeather, for one, predicted eight to nine named storms. Schmude said typically, there are around 12.

So far, there have been four named storms in the Atlantic basin and Schmude said there could well be five more.

“I think we’ll probably see three more named storms in September,” he said. “And then I was doing some analog seasons from the past that are similar to this season and I think we’ll probably see a named storm also in October and November. So that’ll give us about nine for the season.”

So despite the quiet start to this Hurricane Preparedness Month and the many years since the last hurricane hit the region, don’t let your guard down.

That’s what Mark Sloan, coordinator for the Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management, says.

“Well, in Homeland Security and Emergency Management we’re paranoid all the time, so we’re always worried about the storm that develops very quickly,” Sloan said. “I mean, last week we watched Dolly develop in less than 30 hours. It’s impacting the coast of Mexico.”

But Sloan said it was nice to be able to take off the first Labor Day in years.

Hurricane season runs until Nov. 30, but Schmude said in Texas it usually ends with the first real cold front.

“Our first cold front arrives, looks like, on the 12th of September. I’m not ruling out the end of the season since the front is arriving so early in the season, but that is a rule of thumb,” he said.

“And so, if that works out, I would tend to think the main shift across the Gulf thread would be down in Mexico and over the northeast Gulf.”

You can go to www.readyharris.org for information on how to prepare for a hurricane.

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Florian Martin

Florian Martin

Business Reporter

Florian Martin is the News 88.7 business reporter and also covers criminal justice, guns and shootings.Florian's stories can frequently be heard on other public radio stations throughout Texas and on NPR nationwide. Some of them have earned him awards from Texas AP Broadcasters, the Houston Press Club, National Association of...

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