October hurricanes can pack a big punch

A look back at our Gulf Coast hurricane history for a glimpse at what Delta could bring

October storm history

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - It’s been an exhausting hurricane season and a new storm moving into the Gulf is a big reminder that it’s not over yet.

The welcomed Fall days might lead some to let down their guard, but hurricane season last through November 30th.

While storms are less frequent late in the year history shows us the central Gulf Coast is still vulnerable. Ben Schott is the Meteorologist In Charge at the New Orleans/Baton Rouge National Weather Service office. Schott said, “If we look back to history there’s been almost a dozen hurricanes that have crossed the coast of Louisiana in the month of October.”

Most below the major designation of Category 3 on the Saffir Simpson Scale. Schott said, "Here in Louisiana we haven’t had a major hurricane hit since before 1900. So for October it would be really odd for us here, but it’s not something that’s been unprecedented across the Gulf Coast. Category 5 Michael in 2018 and 1995′s Opal which ballooned from a two to a four before landfall are two examples. Both of those storms hit the Florida panhandle.

The timing with cold fronts in Fall makes a difference. Cooler waters near shore can hinder storms, but it won’t stop a strong storm completely. “Thankfully as you get closer to the continental shelf the waters right now are right at or just below 80 degrees and that’s a critical threshold for fuel for these storms,” according to Schott.

Of the notable storms striking the Louisiana coast in October we have seen every effect from the massive destruction of the Chenier Carminada storm in the 1890s to the persistent Juan.

Shear is also more common in October. Schott said, “Those are two benefits of being in October because as you sit in September or August it’s possible those two don’t exist and this thing could come roaring in and intensify all the way to the shore.”

With Delta moving north the Gulf Coast needs to be prepared for all possibilities as an October hurricane is a hurricane none the less.

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