Will the Deadly 2017 Hurricane Season Bring a December Surprise?

  • The Atlantic is warm enough to spawn a rare late-season storm
  • U.S. storm damages this year reached a record $202.6 Billion

The Coming Storm of Climate Change

In 166 years, only 17 tropical storms and six hurricanes have formed in the Atlantic after the official Nov. 30 close of the season, according to the U.S. Hurricane Research Division in Miami. Could it happen again?

Conditions across the Atlantic suggest it could. Water temperatures are still warm enough to support a storm, and given the carnage wrought by the 17 tropical storms and hurricanes that roared out of the Atlantic this year, would anyone be surprised by another? 

Major hurricanes this year including Harvey, Irma and Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico and plunged the island in total darkness, killed hundreds and caused an estimated $202.6 billion in damages, the most ever, according disaster modelers Chuck Watson and Mark Johnson. That’s not to mention Ophelia, which menaced Ireland and Katia, which slammed into Mexico on the heels of catastrophic earthquake there.

Still, a December storm would pose little threat to the U.S. as larger weather patterns are likely keep any late breakers away, according to Jeff Masters, co-founder of Weather Underground in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In fact, there’s never been a December hurricane that’s made landfall in the U.S., according to NOAA. Still, while Thursday marks the official end of the season, it might be prudent to keep the record book open until at least New Year’s Day.

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