What is Connecticut’s Hurricane Season?

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While the Atlantic Hurricane season runs from June 1st through November 31st, the “hurricane season” for Connecticut is somewhat shorter.

After looking at all Tropical Storms and Hurricanes that made landfall in Connecticut, Rhode Island or Long Island between 1938 and 2012, I was able to come up with some stats and probabilities. Note that Hurricane Sandy does not meet the criteria here, since it made landfall in New Jersey as a non-tropical system…only 17 storms met the criteria.

The graph above shows the probability per week for a Tropical Storm or Hurricane to directly impact Connecticut. The peak for Connecticut is actually very close to the peak for the overall Atlantic Hurricane season, as it falls in the first half of September. To be exact, the week from September 8th-14th would be the most “likely” week for a named storm to directly impact Connecticut. With that said, the probability of a storm hitting Connecticut during that week in any given year is only about 3%.

For any given year, there is about a 23% probability of a Tropical Storm or Hurricane for Connecticut. This means that roughly once every four (4) years a Tropical Storm or Hurricane directly impacts our area. Again, this does not include Hurricane Sandy, nor does it occur storms that grazed the area and/or weakened to a Tropical Depression over Connecticut.

For what it’s worth, here are the running annual tropical cyclone probabilities for Connecticut. By the end of a season, there is about a 23% probability of a tropical cyclone. While the probability is lowest in May, June and July, the probabilities increase substantially into August and September. This makes sense, as the vast majority of Tropical Storms and Hurricanes that have directly impacted Connecticut came in those two months. Also, the sea surface temperatures along the Northeast coast are generally too cool in the spring and early summer to sustain a tropical system. From mid-summer into early Autumn, the waters are at peak warmth.

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Here’s a list of the storms considered:
1938 – Hurricane (unnamed) – September 21st.
1944 – Hurricane (unnamed) – September 14th.
1954 – Hurricane Carol – August 31st.
1955 – Tropical Storm Diane – August 19th.
1960 – Tropical Storm Brenda – July 30th.
1960 – Hurricane Donna – September 12th.
1961 – Tropical Storm (unnamed) – September 15th.
1971 – Tropical Storm Doria – August 28th.
1976 – Hurricane Belle – August 10th
1985 – Tropical Storm Henri – September 24th.
1985 – Hurricane Gloria – September 27th. *Latest storm*
1991 – Hurricane Bob – August 19th.
1996 – Tropical Storm Bertha – July 13th.
1999 – Tropical Storm Floyd – September 16th.
2007 – Tropical Storm Barry – June 4th. **Earliest storm**
2008 – Tropical Storm Hanna – September 7th
2011 – Tropical Storm Irene – August 29th.
The dates above are when the center of the storm either crossed over into Connecticut or when it passed closest to Connecticut, if it only hit Long Island and/or Rhode Island.

*Tropical cyclone track information was retrieved from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Historical Hurricane Tracks website:
http://csc.noaa.gov/hurricanes/

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Quincy

Quincy is a meteorologist and storm chaser who travels around the country documenting and researching severe weather. He has on-air experience with stations such as WTNH-TV in New Haven, CT and WREX-TV in Rockford, IL. He was most recently a digital meteorologist for weather.com. After achieving his B.S. degree in Meteorology at Western Connecticut State University (WCSU) in 2009, he returned as a University Assistant to help produce weather broadcasts. He also gave guest lectures and worked on website design. He has over nine years of professional weather forecasting experience and his forecasts have been featured in newspapers and on radio stations in multiple states.

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