Last year’s hurricane season in the Atlantic was the busiest since 2012, and hurricane experts are predicting another above normal season this year.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released their hurricane season forecast, and it calls for between 11 and 17 named storms… with 5 to 9 becoming hurricanes. This is a forecast that is slightly above the average of 12 named storms and 6 hurricanes.
Dr. Gerry Bell, the lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA says “overall this outlook reflects the expectation for a weak or non-existent El Nino, near average or above average sea surface temperatures across the main hurricane formation region, and average or weaker than average vertical wind shear in that region.”
An El Nino is good news during hurricane season. The warm ocean in the pacific creates wind shear in the Caribbean that tends to weaken tropical storms.
There is uncertainty in this year’s seasonal forecast. Earlier this spring, long range computer forecasts were calling for a strong El Nino during the peak of hurricane season. Those forecasts have backed off.. they really are not accurate at more than 3 months out.
The last El Nino ended in June of last year.
The NOAA forecast only predicts the number of storms, and not where they will go. The seasonal forecast should never affect how you prepare for an upcoming hurricane season. Whether the forecast is for an above normal or below normal season, it only takes one storm to make it a bad season.