Tyler Chalfant | November 21st, 2019
Tropical Storm Sebastien is the 18th named storm to form in the Atlantic this year, and is expected to develop into a hurricane late Thursday and into Friday. Hurricanes this late in the season are rare, and there have only been seven since satellites began monitoring them in 1966. 2019 has seen a relatively calm hurricane season compared to recent years, but this is the first season since 2012 to have 18 storms.
Sebastien is headed further out into the ocean and poses no threat to land. Late season storms have been devastating in the past, including when Hurricane Otto became the latest-in-season hurricane on record to make landfall from the Atlantic on November 26th, 2016. Other major November hurricanes have reached the Caribbean and Central America in recent years, though one of the worst hit Cuba back in 1932, leaving over 3,000 dead.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration projects that the effects of climate change will increase the frequency and severity of hurricanes, with higher rainfall rates and more storms developing into Category 4 or 5 hurricanes. The number of tropical storms per season increased on average from 2000 to 2013, and out of the past ten seasons, seven have been considered above average by NOAA, including this year’s.