Philip Klotzbach at Colorado State University issued an update to the seasonal hurricane forecast for 2018 and maintains that the season will remain below average for development for a number of reasons, with emphasis on cooler than average Atlantic sea surface temperatures and the possible development of El Niño by this fall. El Niño increases the upper-level winds over the Caribbean, Gulf and western Atlantic, tearing apart any storms that try to develop. Tropical systems thrive on warmer water temperatures, high atmospheric moisture, and low upper-level wind shear. We have already seen an increase in upper-level wind shear over the Gulf and the Caribbean recently, and water temperatures in the Atlantic are averaging about 1.5° C cooler than this time last year.
Also, large plumes of dust and dry air from the Saharan Desert in Africa is keeping the atmosphere stable and dry. The dust acts to warm the upper-level parts of the atmosphere, increasing stability, and it blocks sunlight/energy that would normally warm the sea surface. An anomalously strong area of high pressure over the Atlantic has contributed to strong easterly trade winds over the Atlantic, which in turn, as lead to upwelling of cooler water from the depths of the Atlantic Ocean, bringing it to the surface. The stronger winds are also partially responsible for blowing the dust over the Atlantic.
While this is good news, it is important to not let this lead to complacency. Always make sure you are prepared in advance for a storm well before they develop. Although the season is expected to be quieter than last year, it does not mean we may not be affected before the end of the season. Stay vigilant and keep it tuned to Fox 4 for the latest on what's going on in the tropics.
CHIEF METEOROLOGIST DEREK BEASLEY