It May Be October -- but Hurricane Season Ain't Over Yet

October 6, 2010

(3:15 p.m. EDT) -- With just two months left in the Atlantic hurricane season -- and what's historically the stormiest part behind us -- you may be getting complacent. Not so fast.

Already this season, 15 named storms and seven hurricanes have resulted in cruise ship itinerary changes throughout the Caribbean and Bermuda and at various U.S. ports. And now, with Subtropical Storm Otto lurking just east of popular Caribbean cruise destinations, we can assure you the storm season isn't over.

Indeed, a recent story on AOL News explains why 2010's hurricane season has been extra active. Why? Especially warm water in the Atlantic this year can fuel storms and aid in their development. Plus, the presence of La Nina in the Pacific creates a weather environment in which the Atlantic will experience "less vertical wind shear during the latter part of the season."

Vertical wind shear hinders the formation of tropical storms -- so with warm water and no wind shear, the conditions are good for tropical storm formation.

In May, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center announced that 2010's Atlantic hurricane season would be "active to extremely active" with between 14 and 23 named storms, of which eight to 14 would become hurricanes. And in August, scientists in Colorado State University's Department of Atmospheric Science upped their forecast to predict 18 named storms and 10 hurricanes. So, theoretically, there could be another four storms and three hurricanes to wade through before the season ends on November 30.

And where are those storms likely to be?'s Hurricane Center predicts that by the third week of October, tropical storm development will shift from the Caribbean to the Gulf of Mexico, possibly impacting cruises out of Galveston, New Orleans and Mobile. If you have an October or November cruise planned to the Caribbean, Bahamas or even Bermuda, we suggest packing a rain slicker and purchasing some travel insurance because there may very well be a storm brewing.

Got questions about cruising during hurricane season? Our editors offer answers here. And, be sure to check Cruise Critic's Hurricane Zone for the latest storm updates.

--by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor