Hurricane season is about half a month away, beginning on June 1st while peaking in early to mid-September. Sea surface temperatures are one of the significant ingredients needed for tropical cyclones. These weather systems derive their energy off from the warm ocean waters, but this ingredient is somewhat lacking at the onset of this year’s hurricane season.

Typically, tropical storms or hurricanes require temperatures at the surface of the ocean water of at least 80 degrees. Temperatures are currently in the 70s to low 80s. Closer to the equator in the Main Development Region, or MDR, where direct sunlight is found all year, temperatures are in low 70s to low 80s. This temperatures range is several degrees below average overall. Because this region is warm year-round, this is a sign that water temperatures will likely not change much, at least during the first half of the hurricane season.

Image credit: Tropical Tidbits

At the start of the season, tropical cyclones typically form close to home in the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, or southwest Atlantic Ocean. It’s not until the heart of the season when storms, and sometime the most powerful storms, form in the MDR. If temperatures remain below average, which is possible, then this could allow for weaker storms.

Coming soon, we’ll discuss how a possible El Niño may have an impact on this year’s Atlantic hurricane season.


Jackson is Head of Content at WeatherOptics and produces several forecasts and manages all social media platforms. Previously, Jackson forecasted local weather for southwestern Connecticut, founding his website, Jackson's Weather, in the March of 2015. He is currently studying Meteorology and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Miami.

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