What To Expect During June In Hurricane Season | Weather.com – The Weather Channel

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  • The Atlantic hurricane season officially begins in June, but activity is usually slow to start.
  • Most early-season systems form in the western Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico.
  • June hurricane landfalls are rare, but tropical storms can still cause major impacts.

J​une is the official kickoff to six months of hurricane season, and even though it’s the slowest month on average, past history shows us June can sometimes produce tropical storms and hurricanes that bring significant impacts to the U.S.

(​OUTLOOK: A Potentially Hyperactive Hurricane Season Is Ahead)

Storms typically form closer to the U.S. early in the season. In June, we usually don’t look at the main development region of the central and eastern Atlantic (meaning closer to Africa) for tropical storms or hurricanes. We look closer to home.

The southeastern U.S. coast, the Gulf of Mexico and the northwestern Caribbean Sea are breeding grounds for tropical cyclones in June. Storms that form early in the year typically form closer to land, which can increase the chance of impacts along the Gulf and Southeast coasts of the U.S.

The frequency of storms is typically low in June. On average, there’s one June named storm in the Atlantic, Caribbean or Gulf of Mexico every one to two years. That’s just an average, so some years have had multiple June storms while numerous others have had none.

To further break it down, about 6% of the tropical storms from 1851 through 2022 in the Atlantic Basin occurred in June, according to NOAA. That pales in comparison to the busiest months of August, September and October, which have accounted for 22%, 35% and 21% of all tropical storms on record, respectively.

The typical frequency of named storms (in light red) and hurricanes (darker red) and major hurricanes (Category 3 or stronger; in darkest red) by month in the Atlantic Basin.

June hurricane landfalls in the continental U.S. are rare, but tropical storms can bring serious impacts. Only four hurricanes have hit the mainland U.S. in the month since 1950. Audrey in 1957 was the strongest of the bunch, making landfall as a Category 3 in Louisiana.

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Allison in early June 2001 is probably the most stark, recent example of major impacts from a tropical storm. It made landfall as a 50 mph tropical storm near Freeport, Texas, but its remnants lingered for days, which resulted in severe flooding and a multi-billion dollar disaster across the Houston metro area.

A​gnes in June 1972 made landfall as a hurricane along the Gulf Coast, but its worst impacts were felt during its second chapter as a tropical storm that produced disastrous flooding in the Northeast.

Why June is usually a slower month. August through early October is a more active time, since atmospheric conditions are more favorable over a much larger expanse of the Atlantic Basin. Sea-surface temperatures in the tropics also tend to be at their warmest in September, as they’ve spent the entire summer soaking up the sun’s energy.

H​owever, this year we’re already seeing water temperatures that are running much warmer than average. That could boost odds for early-season storms to form, but only if atmospheric conditions are hospitable.

L​ast June was full of oddities. First of all, we had three named storms develop last June, which is much higher than average.

Piling onto the strangeness was Arlene, which took a backward path In the Gulf of Mexico. S​torms in this area usually track in some sort of north, east or west direction, which means they often landfall along some part of the U.S. Gulf Coast. Arlene did the opposite and took a north to south path over the eastern Gulf, where it eventually fizzled.

Later in the month, Bret and Cindy formed in a strange place for June by developing over the tropical Atlantic Ocean. It was the first time on record two tropical storms formed east of the Lesser Antilles (east of the Caribbean islands) during the month.

Only a handful of all June storms have developed in this region of the Atlantic in records dating to the mid-19th century, so having two of them in one year is extremely rare. This area of the Atlantic sees a majority of its storms form in August or September.

Chris Dolce has been a senior meteorologist with weather.com for over 10 years after beginning his career with The Weather Channel in the early 2000s.

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