Batten down the hatches.
Thanks in part to warmer waters in the southern Atlantic Ocean, experts are predicting a worse-than-usual hurricane season.
The probability of a major hurricane making landfall is 62 per cent, according to a new forecast out Friday morning from Colorado State’s Tropical Meteorology Project, which uses 60 years of data to assess current weather conditions.
On average, the probability of hurricanes making landfall is significantly less: 52 per cent.
Though hurricane season lasts from June 1 to November 30, its peak comes during the late summer and fall.
Other respected predictors are also bracing for more — and worse — storms.
“Forecasters predict a 70 per cent likelihood of 11 to 17 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which five to nine could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including two to four major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher),” according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) most recent report.
That’s in contrast to an average season, which “produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes,” the NOAA says.
Five named storms — Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Don and Emily — formed prior to August 1. “This is slightly above normal,” says senior meteorologist and climatologist David Dilley, of Global Weather Oscillations, whose predictions for the 2017 season call it “the most dangerous in 12 years.”
“[We] meed to monitor the season very closely last half of August into early October.”
The Weather Company’s most updated research calls for an active Atlantic tropical season — one that’s higher than the region’s long-term averages from 1950 to 2016, but in line with a so-called recent “active period” from 1995 to the present.
Just because more hurricanes form in the Atlantic doesn’t necessarily mean they will hit US shores. For example, 1992 was labelled a below-average year, but that was the year Hurricane Andrew hit South Florida, resulting in 44 deaths and $25.3 billion in damages. It was the most destructive storm in the region’s history.
There is, however, cause for concern based on the new data.
“The more activity there is in a basin, the more likely there is to be a landfall,” says Michael Bell, associate professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State and co-author of its new forecast with Dr Philip Klotzbach. “If you put more hurricanes out there, there is more of a probability of them hitting the Atlantic Coast.”
He adds: “Be prepared no matter what.” (New York Post)