JACKSONVILLE, Fla – We're past the peak of the hurricane season but October is nothing to scoff at.
A year ago this week Hurricane Michael formed as a tropical depression and becoming the third-most intense Atlantic hurricane to make landfall in the contiguous United States just three days later.
October is a deadly hurricane month for Florida and makes up a secondary seasonal maximum after Sept. 10.
The Gulf side is far more vulnerable to quick developing storms and hurricane Michael serves as a recent reminder to the type of rapid developments that brew out of the hot spots in the Western Caribbean and Gulf in Autumn.
Ten major hurricanes hit Florida since the mid-1850s, 33 hurricanes in total during the month of October including Category 5 Hurricane Michael in 2018.
Florida becomes the target this month when cold fronts direct tropical systems toward the eastern Gulf Coast.
There may be times in early October when cold fronts fail to show up keeping very warm surface waters are in place. This was the case in 2018 when Michael intensified right up to landfall.
Deep warm water is like high octane fuel that turbo charges tropical cyclone engines.
October has been hot in Jacksonville along with dozens of spots along the eastern half of the United States where records this week have been broken in one of the most intense October early-autumn heat waves in U.S. history.
The Gulf's temperatures are up and building on the Southeast "flash drought" from September.
All this excess heat has the Gulf water almost .8°F above average.
Some coastal areas are running 2°F above normal along the northern coast where Hurricane Michael struck.
Water in the eastern Gulf had been about 2-4°F above average when Hurricane Michael tracked through the 84° surf.