NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Nate serves as a reminder that while late season storms are rare along the northern Gulf coast, you can't let your guard down just yet. Thousands prepared as hurricane Nate formed in the southern Caribbean.
Nolfein Williams said, "I got some provisions just in case it turned for the worst at the last minute and my family and I had to evacuate." Stewart Serpas said. "I wasn't too worried. I'd been through a number of storms. Just prepare for the worst and try to have fun. What's going to happen will happen and you can only prepare so much." It kept many on edge as the storm raced towards southeast Louisiana.
Fox 8 Chief Meteorologist David Bernard said, "One reason Nate was able to move so quickly was because of some unusual steering currents, a big high over Florida and a trough of low pressure over the Gulf of Mexico so that acted like a funnel to speed Nate towards the Gulf of Mexico." Most people want to know can we finally breathe easy?
Looking at the season so far 2017 is living up to active preseason predictions. The number of hurricane days and the ACE or accumulated cyclone energy, a measure of the total kinetic energy within storms for the season, is pushing the 2005 records.
With Ophelia the year joined just seven other years with fifteen or more named storms before October 9. A couple of things to point out here is that while many of them are recent, notice the records in the 30s long before satellite identification of storms which actually could mean those years were a bit more active. Even with such an active season history is in our favor.
When we look at hurricane landfalls since record keeping began more than 150 years ago, there are only 8 documented hurricanes to make landfall within 150 miles of New Orleans, LA. Only two of those were major hurricanes Category 3 or greater.
On October 3, 1964, Hilda hit the Louisiana coast as a Category 3 hurricane. You have to go back to 1893 when a devastating Category 4 wiped out the community of Chenier Carminada that was on October 5.
Weaker systems can still have a large impact. Many remember Juan in 1985 that caused significant damage as a category one storm.
Bernard said, "The odds start going down very rapidly after the 15th of October for additional storms in the Atlantic, but they certainly can happen. The most likely place to look would be in the Caribbean or the southwestern Atlantic." Williams said, "I'm more optimistic. It's not over until it's over. We just have to stay prepared and after November and I'll feel more comfortable and I can breathe a little easier."
Overall each day it becomes less likely that we will see a high impact storm. The season officially runs through November 30 so we aren't giving an all clear yet, but even those two major storms came in the first week of the month.
We've had some weak tropical storm, but we've never had a hurricane in November. Ida is the closest recently in 2009, but follows the trend of a more eastern landfall at Dauphin Island.