December storms are rare in the tropics, but not impossible.
The Atlantic Hurricane season’s official start is June 1 and end is Nov. 30, however any storm that forms before or after the season of that year, is still considered part of the season.
A December storm requires low wind shear and a pocket of warm water — it’s a rare combination to occur during the 12th month of the year. But it still happens. In the last 30 years five storms have developed in December.
With that in mind, one might ask “what was the latest storm to form during the calendar year?
This one may surprise you.
Hurricane enthusiasts might be quick to say that it was Tropical Storm Zeta on Dec. 30, 2005, and they’d be right if it were not for Alice.
On Dec. 30th, 1954 a low pressure area developed east of the Caribbean and quickly developed tropical properties, becoming a tropical storm and then developing into Hurricane Alice the next day, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Alice formed only few hours later than Tropical Zeta would on Dec. 30, 51 years later. Alice’s December appearance was surprising, but its presence is particularly strange as there was already a “Hurricane Alice” earlier that same year, which had struck Mexico as a Category 2 storm, the National Hurricane Center records show.
“The tropical depression that would become Alice formed on December 30, 1954, so it’s technically part of the 1954 hurricane season,” said the NHC’s spokesperson Dennis Feltgen. “However, it was not upgraded to a tropical storm until January 2,1955. It was given the name Alice off the 1955 name list. Note that the same name list was used from year to year in 1953 through 1955. That changed with the 1956 season.”
With time before the end of the year, if any storm were to develop; however unlikely, it would be part of the unprecedented 2020 Atlantic Hurricane season. If that were to happen, it would be the 31st named storm of the year and receive the Greek letter Kappa as its name.