HOLT, Fla., April 5, 2018–No one wants to hear, talk or even think about hurricanes just yet, but Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project released its forecast for this year’s hurricane season.
Researchers there predict a slightly above-average Atlantic hurricane season in 2018, citing the relatively low likelihood of a significant El Niño as a primary factor.
The CSU Tropical Meteorology Project team predicts 14 named storms during the Atlantic hurricane season which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.
Of those, researchers expect seven to become hurricanes and three to reach major hurricane strength (Category 3-4-5) with sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or greater.
According to the report, the probability of a major hurricane making landfall along the Gulf Coast from the Florida panhandle westward to Brownsville is 38 percent.
While there is the potential that a weak El Niño could develop by the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season, the odds of significant El Niño development appear relatively low, according to the forecast report.
El Niño tends to increase upper-level westerly winds across the Caribbean into the tropical Atlantic, tearing apart hurricanes as they try to form.
Additionally, the western tropical North Atlantic is slightly warmer than normal, while the eastern tropical Atlantic is slightly cooler than normal.
Colder-than-normal sea surface temperatures provide less fuel for tropical cyclone formation and intensification. They are also associated with a more stable atmosphere as well as drier air, both of which suppress organized thunderstorm activity necessary for hurricane development.
History of data
This is the 35th year the CSU Tropical Meteorology Project has made forecasts of the upcoming season’s Atlantic basin hurricane activity.
The team bases its forecasts on more than 60 years of historical data.
So far, the 2018 hurricane season is exhibiting characteristics similar to 1960, 1967, 1996, 2006 and 2011.
“The years 1960, 1967 and 2006 had near-average Atlantic hurricane activity, while 1996 and 2011 were both above-normal hurricane seasons,” said Phil Klotzbach, research scientist in the Department of Atmospheric Science and lead author of the report.
The CSU team will issue forecast updates on May 31, July 2 and Aug. 2.
Coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them, and they need to prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted.