Forecast Calls for Slightly Simmered Atlantic Hurricane Season

Forecast Calls for Slightly Simmered Atlantic Hurricane Season

Hurricane Michael satellite image at landfall in Florida

Hurricane Michael, which wound among the strongest hurricanes on record to make landfall in the U.S., left billions of dollars in crop damage across the Southeast last fall.
Image courtesy of NASA

The last three Atlantic hurricane seasons have been memorable, especially for those who were in the path of named storms that have since been retired. So, what does the 2019 campaign have in store? According to Colorado State University (CSU) Climatologist Philip Klotzbach, slightly below-normal tropical activity is on the future radar – for now.

“The current weak El Niño event appears likely to persist and perhaps even strengthen this summer/fall,” Klotzbach noted in the Extended-Range Forecast he authored along with colleagues. “Sea surface temperatures averaged across the tropical Atlantic are slightly below normal, and the far North Atlantic is anomalously cool.”

Advertisement

These factors could potentially starve would-be storms in the Atlantic Basin from the fuel necessary for further development.

CSU’s 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season Forecast Specs 

  • Named Storms: 13
  • Hurricanes: 5
  • Major Hurricanes: 2

Similarly, Klotzbach and his crew are anticipating a slightly below-average probability for major hurricanes (categories 3-5) making landfall along the continental U.S.

  • Entire continental U.S. coastline: 48% (average for last century is 52%)
  • U.S. East Coast, including Peninsula Florida: 28% (average for last century is 31%)
  • Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle westward to Brownsville, TX: 28% (average for last century is 30%)

CSU’s forecast is based on an extended-range early April statistical prediction scheme that was developed using 29 years of past data. Last year’s long-range forecast from Klotzbach’s team (14 named storms, 7 hurricanes – 3 major) turned out to be quite accurate. The final tally from 2018 was 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes – 2 of which were major (Florence and Michael).

The next forecast update from CSU’s Tropical Meteorology Project will be issued in early June.

Klotzbach’s report is typically the first to release. Hurricane season predictions from NOAA and AccuWeather also are likely to follow soon.