Active Tropical Picture
Ophelia a strong Category 3 Huricane shows a very distinct eye wall visible as the Hurricane moves North. In October we are near the end of Hurricane Season 2011, still there are favored late season areas to watch. Two hot spots are located in the central and western Caribbean Sea. Historical data shows equal storm paths to the West or a turn to the North moving through the Gulf of Mexico.
We only have to look back to late September 1995 where Hurricane Opal a Category 3 storm, made landfall along the Florida Panhandle. Rough damage estimates near $3 billion dollars. October 3, 1995 I remember tracking Opal, then settled in for the night. The next morning, October 4, 1995 Opal had strengthened rapidly and was now a Category 4 Hurricane. It is thought that Hurricane Opal moved over very warm Gulf waters and a upper air environment perfect for Hurricanes. Cooler water temperatures close to Florida weakened the Hurricane shortly before landfall. For more information you can click on the link to view and read the National Hurricane Center preliminary report on Hurricane Opal. Written by Max Mayfield who later became the Director the Hurricane Center, and in my opinion a very proactive, progressive and experienced Tropical Weather Meteorologist.
Hurricane Wilma formed well into October making landfall in Cape Romano Florida on October 24, 2005. I also remember Hurricane Juan, this storm with record breaking rainfall caused torrential flooding in south Louisiana. I call that storm, "the rain maker that never ended". Here is the direct link to the Hurricane Centers archived reports on past storms.
Long range model forecast show some opened window for development in the Caribbean during the second week of October. This not a definite, just a reminder to stay informed through November. I will do the tracking, questions or comments are welcomed.