Humberto and Late Season Hurricanes

Tropical Storm Humberto, the eighth named storm of the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, is generating a lot of news headlines, as the most recent forecasts  tip it to become  the first hurricane of the season by Wednesday.

The question on everyone’s minds is whether or not the record for the latest formation date of the Atlantic’s first hurricane will be broken. The bottom line: if Humberto reaches hurricane status before 8am EDT on Wednesday, the record will stand.

Gustav, which was upgraded from a tropical storm to a minimal hurricane on September 11, 2002, shortly after 8am EDT, currently holds the title as the latest-forming Atlantic season hurricane.

According to the Weather Channel, in addition to 2002’s Gustav there are two other hurricane seasons since 1960 in which the first hurricane did not form until after September 7: 2001 – September 8 (Erin) and 1984 – September 10 (Diana).

The Weather Channel also notes that August 10 is the average date the first Atlantic hurricane arrives, according to the National Hurricane Center, based on 1966-2009 averages.

Meanwhile, the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) cautions us that late season storms can be very destructive:

Indeed, only last year, when it looked like the season was wrapping up, Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast October 28-31, causing 72 deaths and $18.75 billion in insured property losses in 15 states and the District of Columbia, not including National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) losses, according to the Property Claim Services (PCS) unit of ISO. Sandy was the third costliest hurricane in U.S. history, topped only by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Andrew in 1992.†

And Sandy was not the latest hurricane to form during the Atlantic season, the I.I.I. notes. Hurricane Kate struck November 20-21, 1985 in the Florida Panhandle, causing $77.6 million in insured losses (about $165.6 million in 2012 dollars).

Check out I.I.I. facts and statistics on hurricanes.

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