We made it through our first month of hurricane season. So far we have had four named storms; Arthur, Bertha, Cristobal and Dolly. Two named storms made landfall in the United States.
July is typically a quiet month in the tropics. The Atlantic Ocean produces the most hurricanes by the end of August and September. Mid-September is the peak of hurricane season, where storms can form almost anywhere in the Atlantic.
Tropical development in July usually comes closer to the United States where conditions are most favorable. There are three main areas that produce tropical cyclones in July.
A climatic hotspot for tropical development is located above the western Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. If a storm sets in the region, the northern and western Gulf Coasts should be alert. Storms that form in zone A tend to follow north or west depending on the location of the Bermuda High in the northeast.
Another climatic favorite area is usually above the Gulf Stream, near the Bahamas and the eastern United States. Storms that arise over zone B tend to deflect out to sea or along the east coast.
There is a third area that prefers tropical development in the month of July and it is much further away. Zone C is located near the Lesser Antilles. Development within zone C tends to be late July. This is usually a hostile environment for tropical systems to sustain themselves; Therefore, storms in July are usually short-lived.
July can be a busy month for several years. Let’s look back on July 2005. Hurricane Dennis became a major hurricane and followed just off the coast of Tampa Bay. Hurricane Dennis caused severe weather across the bay and was known for its tornadoes and watercourses.
Chief Meteorologist Mike Clay and Nick Merianos discuss the July 2005 hurricane season and the July formation zones on Facebook Live. You can check it out here!