Some good news from top hurricane forecasters: The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season should be quieter than normal, according to a new prediction that has been released.
Meteorologist Phil Klotzbach and other experts from Colorado State University – regarded as the nation’s top seasonal hurricane forecasters – predict ten named tropical storms will form, of which four will become hurricanes.
That is a sharp decrease from their forecast in April, when they said seven hurricanes would form.
If the quiet forecast comes to fruition, 2018 will be a welcome relief after the destructive 2017 season, which saw monsters like Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria tear paths of death and destruction across the Caribbean and the U.S.
“We have decreased our forecast and now believe that 2018 will have below-average
activity,” the Colorado State forecast said. “The tropical and subtropical Atlantic is currently much colder than normal, and the odds of a weak El Niño developing in the next several months have increased.”
Hurricanes need the fuel of warm ocean water to develop and strengthen.
El Niño is a natural warming of tropical Pacific Ocean water, which tends to suppress the development of Atlantic hurricanes. During an El Niño, strong upper-level winds roar across the Caribbean and Atlantic, tearing apart developing tropical storms.
In its most recent forecast, the Climate Prediction Center gave a 50 percent chance of an El Niño forming in late summer or early fall.
“With the decrease in our forecast, the probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the United States coastline and in the Caribbean has decreased as well,” Colorado State said. The probability of direct hit on the U.S. coast from a major hurricane – classified as a Category 3, 4, or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale – is down to 39 per cent from 63 per cent.
But experts caution it only takes one storm to make it a disastrous season.
“As is the case with all hurricane seasons, coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them,” the forecast said. “They should prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted.”
The poster child for that theory was the 1992 hurricane season. That season was relatively quiet overall, with only seven named storms. But the first of them was catastrophic Hurricane Andrew, which devastated portions of South Florida and killed dozens of people.
Meanwhile, the eastern Pacific hurricane season, which gets a boost from El Niños, has been very active so far, with six named storms, of which three have been hurricanes.
Source- USA TODAY