It is very rare for an Atlantic tropical storm to form in December. While several November storms have lasted into the month of December, only 4 storms have actually begun in December, according to records going back to 1870.

The first was in 1887 when tropical storm #19 formed on December 12. It made landfall in Costa Rica. The second reached storm status on December 30, 1954. It passed over the Leeward Islands, having reached hurricane status on January 2, 1955.

The third storm was Odette, which formed in 2003 on December 4. It crossed Hispaniola on a track to the northeast into the open Atlantic. On December 30, 2005 tropical storm Zeta developed in the tropical Atlantic between the Lesser Antilles and the Cape Verde Islands. It dissipated on January 6, 2006 without striking land.

Now we are watching the cloud mass over the central Caribbean near tail end of the front that introduced cold air into Florida over the weekend. The strong El Nino shear is streaming the rain clouds over parts of the northern Caribbean. Shearing upper level winds should keep the surface low from growing into a subtropical or tropical storm, unless the surface low begins moving rapidly northeastward under the El Nino winds. There’s a slight chance this could reduce the shearing effect between the lower and upper parts of the cloud system allowing heavier rains and stronger winds to develop into an organized storm system.



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