NOAA’s Official Forecast Calls for 4 to 8 Atlantic Hurricanes This Season

May 24, 2019by David Fleshler
Hurricane Irene moves along the Atlantic seaboard in this Aug. 26, 2011, file photo. [NOAA]

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A federal hurricane forecast issued Thursday calls for a near-normal season this year, with four to eight hurricanes and up to 15 storms powerful enough to be given names.

The forecast represents a potential decrease from the eight hurricanes seen last year and possible sharp decline from the 10 that appeared in the catastrophic season of 2017.

The National Oceanic Administration’s Climate Prediction Center, which released the forecast, said two to four of the hurricanes are likely to be major hurricanes, which means Category 3 or higher, producing winds of at least 111 miles per hour. The prediction calls for nine to 15 named storms, which means ones with wind speeds of at least 39 miles per hour.

“It looks at this time that a near-normal season is most likely,” said Gerry Bell, lead hurricane season forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “But in my view, that’s still a lot of activity. Nine to 15 named storms is a lot. Four to eight hurricanes is a lot. Two to four major hurricanes is a lot.

“So the key message is we’re expecting a near-normal season, but regardless, that’s a lot of activity. You need to start getting prepared for the hurricane season now.”

NOAA said there was a 40% chance of a near-normal season, a 30% chance of an above-normal season and a 30% chance of a below-normal season.

The agency cited competing factors. Warmer ocean temperatures and a stronger African monsoon season favor more hurricanes. But the persistence of the weather phenomenon called El Nino favors fewer storms.

El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern Pacific Ocean that can affect weather around the world. El Nino tends to suppress hurricane formation by fostering high-level crosswinds called wind shear that tear up incipient tropical cyclones, preventing them from establishing their characteristic rotating structure.

Hurricane season runs June 1 through Nov. 30, with the peak coming in August, September and October. The season got an early start this week with Subtropical Storm Andrea, which formed Monday and dissipated a day later without coming near land.

We’re in a generation-long period of elevated hurricane activity that carries the ungainly name of Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation. The pattern has historically lasted 25 to 40 years, with the current phase of elevated activity persisting since 1995 and likely to continue through the current season.

“We’re not seeing any indication that we’re getting out of this high-activity period yet,” Bell said. “As far as predicting when it will end, there’s no way to know.”

The NOAA prediction released Thursday fell in line with other recent predictions for the season.

Colorado State University’s forecast in early April called for five hurricanes this season. AccuWeather, a private company, predicted five to seven hurricanes. More hurricane season predictions will be issued in the coming weeks, with a new wave issued prior to the season’s peak.

AccuWeather said this week that its predictions for hurricane season have not changed. AccuWeather Atlantic hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski said a few particular locations, where ocean temperatures are particularly warm, should be watched for possible tropical systems early in the season.

These include the areas east of Bermuda, off the southeastern coast of the United States and in parts of the Gulf of Mexico.

Although the federal prediction calls for a near-normal season, even a quiet season can bring a devastating storm. Every forecaster’s favorite example is Hurricane Andrew, which struck South Florida during an otherwise uneventful 1992 season.

———

©2019 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

Visit the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) at www.sun-sentinel.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

In The News

Health

Voting

Climate

Biden Administration Approves Nation’s First Major Offshore Wind Farm
Energy
Biden Administration Approves Nation’s First Major Offshore Wind Farm
May 11, 2021
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - The Biden administration gave its final approval Tuesday to the construction and operation of the Vineyard Wind project -- the first large-scale, offshore wind project in the United States. The decision was announced by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. The... Read More

Biden Creates Climate Change Support Office
Climate
Biden Creates Climate Change Support Office
May 7, 2021
by TWN Staff

WASHINGTON - President Joe Biden signed an executive order Friday afternoon establishing a temporary  “Climate Change Support Office” within the Department of States. The order directs Secretary of State Antony Blinken to name a director of the office and to hire as many people as needed... Read More

Senate Reinstates Obama-Era Controls on Climate-Warming Methane
Climate
Senate Reinstates Obama-Era Controls on Climate-Warming Methane
April 29, 2021
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - The Senate voted Wednesday to reinstate an Obama-era regulation intended to reduce methane gas leaks from oil and gas facilities. In September, former President Donald Trump rolled back the regulation, which required facility operators to regularly monitor their equipment and repair it or replace... Read More

Biden Aims For U.S. ‘Leadership’ On Climate, Announces Reduction in Emissions
Climate
Biden Aims For U.S. ‘Leadership’ On Climate, Announces Reduction in Emissions
April 22, 2021
by Daniel Mollenkamp

At a virtual summit on climate change attended by 40 world leaders on Thursday, President Joseph Biden announced that the U.S. would reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by half over the next decade. Biden’s plan promises to lower greenhouse gas emissions 50-52% below 2005 levels by... Read More

Biden Opening Summit with Ambitious New US Climate Pledge
White House
Biden Opening Summit with Ambitious New US Climate Pledge

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden will open a global climate summit with a pledge to cut at least in half the climate-wrecking coal and petroleum fumes that the U.S. pumps out, a commitment he hopes will spur China and other big polluters to speed up... Read More

DOT Taps First Chief Science Officer in Over 40 Years
Transportation
DOT Taps First Chief Science Officer in Over 40 Years
April 21, 2021
by TWN Staff

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Transportation Department is appointing a chief science officer for the first time in over four decades as part of a comprehensive effort to fulfill the White House's commitment to addressing climate change. In a related move, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced the... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top