While the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season got off to a quick and early start, the Gulf of Mexico remains relatively quiet. There have been several tropical depressions and tropical storms in the Gulf of Mexico during the past several years, but none reached hurricane criteria – a storm with winds of 74 mph or greater.
Hurricane Ingrid in September 2013 was the last time a hurricane developed or entered the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. That storm made landfall in northeastern Mexico in 2013.
Because tropical development is not anticipated in the Gulf of Mexico by Saturday (July 30), it will break the old record of 1,047 days, according to The Weather Channel’s hurricane specialist Michael Lowey. That stretch occurred from Oct.1, 1929 to Aug. 13, 1932 and was broken by Hurricane Two, which made landfall in Freeport, Texas, as a category 4 hurricane. Records for the Gulf go back to 1886.
And that is not the only record set this year. There have been 144 consecutive tropical systems without a land-falling major hurricane (category three or higher), according to Colorado State Meteorologist Philip Klotzbach. This means that Hurricane Wilma in 2005 was the last major Gulf hurricane to hit the United States back in 2005. It is the longest such streak since 1900.
Despite the long droughts, NOAA still anticipates a normal season with 10 to 16 named storms. And, as the National Weather Service often warns, it only takes one storm.