HOUSTON (KIAH) — So far, so good for residents along the Gulf Coast this hurricane season. We’ve made it past the statistical peak of the season without one hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico.

What are the odds of a hurricane near Houston after this date? Low, but there’s still a chance. The image below shows that eight hurricanes have passed within 50 miles of Galveston after September 13th, since 1850. Statistically, that means in any given year, there is a 5% chance of a nearby hurricane after September 13th.

It’s worth noting that nearby hurricanes Ike (2008) and Humberto (2007) made landfall on September 13th, and Nicholas (2021) made landfall on September 14th. So, beyond mid-September, there have only been five nearby hurricanes. That means by the second half of September, odds drop from 5% to 3% for a nearby hurricane in any given year.

CW39 – hurricanes within 50 miles of Galveston after September 13th (since 1850)

CW39 – radar image as Hurricane Ike made landfall in Galveston (courtesy @NWSHouston)

What are we monitoring now? There is a tropical wave (disorganized area of low pressure) in the Central Atlantic Ocean. The National Hurricane Center gives it a 40% chance of formation within the next five days as it continues westward.

CW39 – tropics outlook

We’re thinking this low could be in the vicinity of Haiti and the Dominican Republic on Saturday. Where it goes from there, and whether or not it becomes a named storm, is anyone’s guess. Try to ignore computer model images beyond a week. They tend to make the rounds on social media, but are often highly inaccurate that far out because of the enormous amount of assumptions to arrive at their specific long-range solution.

CW39 – tropical storms and hurricanes within 50 miles of Galveston after September 13th (since 1850)

Finally, adding post-September 13th historical tropical storm tracks (gray lines) to the historical hurricane tracks in the image above, you can see that many tropical systems have passed nearby during the “2nd half” of hurricane season. Tropical storms are notorious for being big trouble-makers in our area due to very heavy rain.

The bottom line: don’t let your guard down yet. We still have a few more weeks of the most impactful part of hurricane season to go.

CW39 – tropical climatology