A system south of Puerto Rico could become a tropical storm in the coming days.
A system south of Puerto Rico could become a tropical storm in the coming days. (National Hurricane Center)

No hurricanes have formed yet in the Atlantic this season, nor do any appear imminent, making it the slowest start to a hurricane season in more than a decade. But it would need to keep up for a couple of weeks to be record-setting.

Six tropical storms have formed, and one of a few systems that have been stirring in recent days could soon become Tropical Storm Gabrielle. But none have reached close to hurricane status, with maximum sustained winds of 74 mph or greater.


The last time a season went this long without a hurricane was 2002, when Hurricane Gustav did not develop until Sept. 11. That storm brushed the Outer Banks of North Carolina and passed off the Delmarva coast.

Records are less solid in the pre-satellite era, but there are at least two seasons that were more remarkable. In 1941, no tropical storms formed until Sept. 11, and the second of the season reached hurricane status Sept. 21.

In 1914, no hurricanes are known to have formed.

A record drought of major hurricanes making landfall in the U.S. is meanwhile ongoing. The last was Hurricane Wilma, which hit south Florida as a Category 3 storm (after striking Mexico as a Category 4) Oct. 24, 2005. The nearly 8-year span is two years longer than any other on record.

A system south of Puerto Rico currently has the best chances of breaking any streaks. The National Hurricane Center estimates a 60 percent chance it will develop into a tropical storm within the next five days.

An earlier version of this post misstated the timing of Hurricane Gustav.