A slow hurricane season has been in place for some time. But experts now expect the lull to be brief and continuing, with less than the normal 18 named storms and nearly 10 hurricanes.
“The 2015-2017 El Niño was highly conducive to Atlantic tropical cyclone development,” experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration wrote in a statement, “leaving little to no opportunity for abnormally high wind shear and upper-level dry air to disrupt energy interactions.”
This also means that storms moving across the Atlantic from the west will find less wind shear in the atmosphere. The lower-than-usual numbers of hurricanes means that there won’t be as many to occur.
“A low number of storms is good for our tourism economy,” said University of South Florida researcher Adrian Miller in a statement. “While 15 is not a lot, a low number has a profound impact on everything from our fishing industry to our ecosystem.”
Every year, many people get curious whether there will be any major hurricanes in the spring. Maybe a record-breaking year will finally come along? The answer is that the number of hurricanes in the Atlantic is highly variable. Storms are expected to happen because ocean temperatures in the Atlantic are warmer than usual, putting them more at risk. However, if the Atlantic doesn’t get into a pattern of frequent storms, and the major hurricanes tend to form further from land, then so will other areas in the eastern Pacific Ocean.
“The numbers are not as promising as I thought they would be,” said University of Miami researcher Brian McNoldy in a conference call with reporters. “But no forecasting system is perfect.”
The summer Atlantic hurricane season gets underway in June. Just three years ago, hurricane Joaquin pummeled the East Coast from North Carolina to New England. That was a sign that the season was going to be not very deadly — even with fewer storms.
The full range of predictions published in the May edition of the American Meteorological Society’s journal Global Change Biology are:
14 to 19 named storms (the number above is the lower end).
5 to 9 hurricanes (the higher end of the predicted range)
1 to 2 major hurricanes (the middle range, 4 to 5)
Katrina, Harvey, Irma and Maria are the most destructive storms on record, and according to the NOAA these could be repeated next year.
Read more at The Atlantic.
The persistent hangover from the great Atlantic hurricane depression of 1876
The dangerous twists and turns of tropical storms as they now move through the Caribbean
Hurricane Florence’s slow arrival into the Carolinas