Each year around the end of May the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) comes out with their forecast for the upcoming Atlantic hurricane. Their analysis is complete and the numbers are out!
Hurricane season officially starts June first and both Accuweather and Colorado State University have already come out with their predictions for this season and both agree that this will be an above average hurricane season. an above average season. NOAA agrees and also predicts an above average season.
Their prediction 13-19 storms, 6-10 hurricanes, and 3-6 major hurricanes, consisting of those with winds of Category 3 strength or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. Compare that to an average season where 12 tropical storms form, 6 of which become hurricanes, and of those 2 to 3 become major hurricanes. They also predict a 60% chance for an above average season and only a 10% chance of a below average season.
The primary factors leading to the above-average hurricane season forecast are cooling water temperatures in the equatorial Pacific leading to lower upper level wind shear over the the Caribbean and Atlantic and warmer than average water temperatures in the Gulf and most of the Atlantic. Cooler Pacific waters lead to relaxed upper level winds over the tropical Atlantic, which allows storms to organize and develop into tropical storms and hurricanes, rather than being ripped apart. The warmer waters provide more oceanic heat content that the storms need to organize and strengthen.
It is important to remember that these are forecasts and are subject to change. All it takes is one storm to have a significant impact on your life and property. Regardless of the upcoming forecast, make sure you are prepared ahead of time and always know we will be keeping you informed of the latest developments during the season.
FOX 4 METEOROLOGIST ERIC STONE