Space City Weather

The Texas hurricane season is probably over

Long time readers of mine will be familiar with the date of Sept. 24th, the point at which the historical chance of a hurricane striking Texas falls very nearly to zero. Just three hurricanes have struck Texas after that date in the last 160 years, the most recent being Hurricane Jerry, in 1989. (The storm’s landfall, on Oct. 16, is the latest a hurricane has ever hit Texas. It had 85-mph winds and came ashore along Galveston Island).

I’ve waited a few days later this year to make an “end of season” post because I wanted to follow the evolution of Hurricane Matthew (which now, clearly, will not come into the Gulf of Mexico), and because the upper-atmosphere pattern still has a September feel about it. What I mean by this is that the fast-flowing jet stream in the upper levels of the atmosphere really hasn’t dug that far south yet, bringing with it strong wind currents that are hostile to hurricane formation and intensification.

This GFS model forecast for upper-level winds next Thursday morning shows that the jet stream isn’t far enough south to provide really strong upper-level winds along the Texas coast. (Weather Bell)

With that said, Houston has now received two cool fronts (the second of which is going to bring us splendid weather for this weekend), and it seems likely that at least another weak front will move into Houston next Thursday or so. Fronts are important because they tend to pick up any tropical systems in the Gulf and move them toward the east-northeast.


Given this overall pattern, and that there are no indications of tropical systems developing any time soon in the Gulf of Mexico or Caribbean Sea after Matthew moves out, I think we can safely say the Texas hurricane season is probably over. I’ll feel 100 percent confident when the jet stream moves south into Texas.