September has arrived and the Atlantic Basin is still waiting on its first hurricane of the season. We've seen several named storms, but none have reached hurricane status.
While it's rare that we haven't seen even one hurricane so far this year, it isn't unheard of. The last time we made it this far into the season without a hurricane was in 2002, with Gustav forming on September 11.
Several other years saw no hurricanes through August including 1967, 1984, 1988, 2001 and 2002 and now 2013. The data goes back to 1960.
Even with the late start, those same years produced several hurricanes after August. In fact, the 2002 and 1984 hurricane season continued into December with named storms.
2002 | 4 hurricanes formed after August
2001 | 9 hurricanes formed after August
1988 | 5 hurricanes formed after August
1984 | 5 hurricanes formed after August
1967 | 6 hurricanes formed after August
Despite the late start, the 2002 season tied with 2004, 2007, and 2010 in which a record number of tropical cyclones, eight, developed in the month of September. It ended early however, with no tropical storms forming after October 6—a rare occurrence caused partly by El Niño conditions.
Several major hurricanes formed during years with a late start including Category 5 Hurricane Beulah, which was the second tropical storm, second hurricane and only major hurricane during the 1967 season.
The 2002 season took place during a moderately strong El Niño. The El Niño years often correspond to LESS active hurricane seasons in the Atlantic, while La Nina years often lead to active years. This year, the 'El Niño–Southern Oscillation' or ENSO is near neutral.
Several waves continue to develop off the African coast. However, dust in the Saharan Air Layer has inhibited many of the would-be systems, as well as a large ridge over the Atlantic. Signs turn to improving conditions for the development of more storms in the coming weeks.
The hurricane season peaks during the second week of September, but runs through the end of November. While it isn't an exact season, some hurricanes have developed well into the winter months of December and January.