Colorado State University hurricane researchers are out with their forecast for the season ahead
The Atlantic hurricane season will be slightly above-average this year, Colorado State University (CSU) hurricane researchers predicted Thursday. The researchers cited a “relatively low likelihood of significant El Niño” conditions as a main factor.
In total, the team believes there will be 14 named storms. Hurricane researchers predict seven of the storms will become hurricanes and three will reach “major hurricane strength with sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or greater.”
They explained why El Niño patterns are likely to make a difference.
“El Niño tends to increase upper-level westerly winds across the Caribbean into the tropical Atlantic, tearing apart hurricanes as they try to form,” the researchers said.
CSU hurricane researchers believe this season’s activity will be about 135 percent of the average season. For reference, last year’s hurricane activity — which included— was nearly two and a half times greater than average.
The team forms their forecasts by using 60 years of data, referencing sea surface temperatures, vertical wind shear levels, sea level pressures, El Niño conditions and other factors. They plan to provide updates on May 31, July 2 and Aug. 2.
The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.
The report also includes the probability of major hurricanes making landfall:
- 63 percent for the entire U.S. coastline (average for the last century is 52 percent)
- 39 percent for the U.S. East Coast, including the Florida peninsula (average for the last century is 31 percent)
- 38 percent for the Gulf Coast from the Florida panhandle westward to Brownsville (average for the last century is 30 percent)
- 52 percent for the Caribbean (average for the last century is 42 percent)
The forecast team also tracks the likelihood of tropical storm-force, hurricane-force and major hurricane-force winds occurring at specific locations along the coastal United States, the Caribbean and Central America through its Landfall Probability website.