MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Now that hurricane season officially ended November 30th you may be wondering what is the likelihood we could see tropical development in December. It is not rare to see a storm form outside of the season but it isn’t very likely. We look back at climatology to see how often it happens and why.
The reason conditions for tropical activity can still be a thing in December is that there are still areas where the warm water remains and little wind shear.
There are not a lot of tropical storms or hurricanes that have developed outside of the official season which is from June 1st through November 30th. Although every month has had tropical development, the prime months outside of hurricane season is in May and December.
December of 2013 was the last time we had a storm in December, it was an unnamed subtropical storm that formed in the northeast Atlantic during the the first week of December 2013.
The now second active season in 2005 after, coming in after this 2020 season, had it’s last named storm Zeta, which formed at the end of December. Zeta in 2005, lasted into the first few days of January 2006.
Going back to the 1800s, only 31 storms of tropical storm force or stronger were active in December. Of those 31 only 16 actually developed in December. Since 1950 through 2019 there have only been 7 named storms to form in December and none of those storms made landfall in the continental U.S. However, Puerto Rico was impacted by Tropical Storm Olga in 2007.