JACKSONVILLE -- Monday night's cold front did more than lower temperatures. The front kept Hurricane Rafael out at sea.
Keep in mind, this outcome was never in doubt. The forecast always projected "Rafael" to move north across the Atlantic Ocean over 1000 miles east of the First Coast.
In October, there's often a battle brewing between autumn cold fronts moving across North America and the storms that emerge in the tropics. It's important to realize that cold fronts nearly always win the battle. The cooler, dense air behind a cold front (combined with a strong jet stream) will act to push tropical storms and hurricanes away from the U.S.
Timing is everything. If the front clears the East Coast too soon, sometimes hurricanes are "captured" and pulled west toward Florida. More often than not, we look to our immediate coastline, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Western Caribbean for late-season tropical systems (in October and November).