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Cabo Verde season: When monster storms are born

September Cabo Verde Season
September Cabo Verde Season (WKMG 2020)

The Cabo Verde Islands are made up of 10 islands, about 350 miles off the western coast of Africa and although the island chain doesn’t actually affect the tropical development, it is usually the starting point for strong long-lived hurricanes.

The Cabo Verde season, on average, runs in correlation to the peak of Hurricane Season, between July and September.

Peak hurricane season
Peak hurricane season (WKMG 2020)

It gets its name, from the small cluster of islands in the Atlantic where some of the most powerful tropical systems develop.

But what is it about this area that births these monster storms?

As we progress through hurricane season, we begin to see larger and more robust tropical waves rolling off the west African coast.

Not all waves develop into tropical systems, but the majority of hurricanes begin as a tropical wave.

During Cabo Verde Season, there is an obvious uptick in activity near the islands in the Eastern Atlantic.

August breeding ground for storms
August breeding ground for storms (WKMG 2020)

Systems that develop this time of the year often have greater opportunity to strengthen into notoriously powerful storms, due to the shear amount of time they have over open warm waters. To put it into perspective, the distance between Cabo Verde Islands and the eastern seaboard is roughly 3500 miles, with much of this swath with waters over 80 degrees.

Warm water
Warm water (WKMG 2020)

This time over the warm open Atlantic, is why many major hurricanes (category three or higher) begin near the island chain.

But it's not only the time over warm waters that plays a factor in growing these powerful storms. At this point of the season, wind shear is light and moist of the dry air over the tropics have eroded away. All factors that favor successful and efficient tropical development.

Here are some memorable Cabo Verde Storms in the past few years:

Hurricane Ivan (2004) - Category 5

Hurricane Matthew (2016) - Category 5

Hurricane Florence (2018) - Category 4

No matter where we are in Hurricane Season, remember it only takes one. Make sure you are ready for whatever might come our way, by staying informed and being prepared. Hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 31.


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