2018 Hurricane season may be less severe than anticipated


Will hurricane season be a blockbuster? 6 expected to form in Atlantic


The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, which begins Friday, may not be a blockbuster after all.

In a revised seasonal forecast released Thursday, top scientists from Colorado State University said a near-average season is likely, with 14 named storms, of which six would become hurricanes.

A tropical storm becomes a hurricane when its wind speed reaches 74 mph.

This is a decrease from a forecast the group released in April. The reason for the revised predictions is that seawater in the eastern Atlantic Ocean is unusually cold for this time of year, meteorologist Phil Klotzbach said. The cool water means less fuel for hurricanes to form.

In addition, a weak El Niño could also form later in the year, which tends to suppress Atlantic hurricane development.

Of the six predicted hurricanes, two are expected to spin into major hurricanes — category 3, 4 or 5 — with sustained wind speeds of 111 mph or greater. The group said there’s a 51% chance of a major hurricane landfall somewhere along the U.S. coastline.

Despite the lowered forecast, meteorologists caution against complacency. “It takes only one storm near you to make this an active season,” said meteorologist Michael Bell, also of Colorado State.

For example, the 1992 hurricane season was relatively quiet overall, with only seven named storms. But one of them was catastrophic Hurricane Andrew, which devastated portions of South Florida and killed dozens of people.


The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, though storms sometimes form outside those dates. Subtropical Storm Alberto was the first named storm of the season, which formed last week and dumped heavy rain across portions of the southeastern and central U.S.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its hurricane forecast last week, which called for 5 to 9 hurricanes to form.

Overall, a near-normal season (six hurricanes) is predicted by the average of the 18 different forecasting groups that make seasonal forecasts, Colorado State said.

Colorado State’s prediction in 2017 was low: Last year, the team predicted 11 tropical storms would form, of which four would become hurricanes. In all, 17 tropical storms developed and 10 strengthened into hurricanes.

More: Hurricane season starts soon, and ‘you need to start preparing now’

Insurance companies, emergency managers and the media use the forecasts to prepare Americans for the year’s hurricane threat. The team’s annual predictions provide a best estimate of activity during the upcoming season, not an exact measure, according to Colorado State.

“We issue these forecasts to satisfy the curiosity of the general public and to bring attention to the hurricane problem,” the university said. “There is a general interest in knowing what the odds are for an active or inactive season.”

The university, under the direction of meteorologist William Gray, was the first group to predict seasonal hurricane activity in the mid-1980s. Gray died in 2016.

This is the team’s 35th forecast. It covers the Atlantic basin, which includes the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2018/05/31/hurricane-season-expected-near-normal-6-hurricanes/659161002/