Subject: G1) When is hurricane season ?
The Atlantic hurricane season is officially from 1 June to 30 November. There is nothing magical in these dates, and hurricanes have occurred outside of these six months, but these dates were selected to encompass over 97% of tropical activity. June 1st has been the traditional start of the Atlantic hurricane season for decades. However, the end date has been slowly shifted outward, from October 31st to November 15th until its current date of November 30th.
The Atlantic basin shows a very peaked season from August through October, with 78% of the tropical storm days, 87% of the minor (Saffir-Simpson Scale categories 1 and 2 – see Subject D1) hurricane days, and 96% of the major (Saffir-Simpson categories 3, 4 and 5) hurricane days occurring then (Landsea 1993). Maximum activity is in early to mid September. Once in a few years there may be a tropical cyclone occurring “out of season” – primarily in May or December. (For more detailed information, see Subject G12 – “What is my chance of having a tropical storm or hurricane strike by each month?”)
The Northeast Pacific basin has a broader peak with activity beginning in late May or early June and going until late October or early November with a peak in storminess in late August/early September. NHC’s official dates for this basin are from May 15th to November 30th.
The Northwest Pacific basin has tropical cyclones occurring all year round regularly. There is no official definition of typhoon season for this reason. There is a distinct minimum in February and the first half of March, and the main season goes from July to November with a peak in late August/early September.
The North Indian basin has a double peak of activity in May and November though tropical cyclones are seen from April to December. The severe cyclonic storms (>33 m/s winds [76 mph]) occur almost exclusively from April to June and late September to early December.
The Southwest Indian and Australian/Southeast Indian basins have very similar annual cycles with tropical cyclones beginning in late October/early November, reaching a double peak in activity – one in mid-January and one in mid-February to early March, and then ending in May. The Australian/Southeast Indian basin February lull in activity is a bit more pronounced than the Southwest Indian basin’s lull.
The Australian/Southwest Pacific basin begin with tropical cyclone activity in late October/early November, reaches a single peak in late February/early March, and then fades out in early May.
Globally, September is the most active month and May is the least active month. (Neumann 1993)