(5 p.m. EDT) -- Tomorrow -- September 10 -- is historically the most active day of the Atlantic Hurricane Season, which runs from June 1 to November 30.
We've had at least one storm on September 10 for the past several decades. So, thinking an active Atlantic storm on this date was a metaphysical certainty, we initiated a forecasting challenge back on September 3. We asked: Which Atlantic storm(s) will be active on September 10, at any time during the day, EDT? Would it be Fred? Grace? A combination of named storms? Would we buck the trend and spend the day storm-free?
Since then, 120 storm chasers have participated -- and one lucky winner will be drawn at random from the correct respondents to win a Cruise Critic Cruise Essentials Pack (the rain poncho being the most apropos item).
While we won't know the official outcome until tomorrow, the latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center suggests that it'll be Fred and Fred alone in the Atlantic; 28 readers, or 23 percent, thought as much. Meanwhile, 31 wishful thinkers, likely those scheduled to be on Caribbean cruises during September 10, voted that there'd be no named storm. (Voting is closed, but check out the results here.)
As storm names moved up in the alphabet -- Henri, Ida, Joaquin, Kate -- the vote tallies generally trended downward. And one lone voter felt that'd we'd reach Peter, some 10 Atlantic storms beyond where we were when the contest began (Erika).
Storm naming conventions dictate that the list of 26 storm names are repeated every six years -- except in the case that a storm is so destructive or deadly that it'd be "insensitive" to keep it around for future use. Storm names are maintained and updated by an international committee of the World Meteorological Organization. You can find a complete list of 2009's Atlantic storm names in ... The Hurricane Zone.
Stay tuned later this week when we'll announce the results of the “Name That Storm” contest!
--by Dan Askin, Associate Editor