We are keeping a close eye on La Niña in the Pacific and will be through the summer and into the Fall. ENSO or the El Ñino Southern Oscillation is a pattern that alternates between warmer than average and cooler than average SST's (sea surface temperatures) in the equatorial Pacific. Since the start of the year, La Niña, which is a phase when water temperatures are cooler than average, results in lower wind shear over the Atlantic Basin. This is important because it allows storms to develop without any interference from wind shear, which would otherwise tear the storms apart.
At this point in the season, we are in an ENSO Neutral phase. Forecast models are hinting at a return to La Niña by late summer or fall. This could have BIG implications on the rest of the hurricane season. An environment with continued low wind shear and warmer than average water temperatures will lead to the development of many tropical cyclones. Last year's hyperactive season was partially a result of La Niña and the low wind shear environment it created over the Atlantic.
At this point, it is a wait-and-see game. We are already expecting an active season, and it sure has started off that way, with 5 named storms so far. We will be watching the evolution of La Niña through the season and adjustments may be made to the official forecast by Colorado State, NOAA, and other entities. Try not to get wrapped up in the specific number of storms. If you are prepared for one, you are prepared for all of them, so the important thing to remember is to BE PREPARED regardless of what is expected for the rest of the season.
FOX 4 CHIEF METEOROLOGIST DEREK BEASLEY