A team of weather forecasters at Colorado State University predict there will be four major hurricanes in the Atlantic basin this year, an above-average season prompted by anomalous warming of the tropical Atlantic and an expected lack of an El Nino event.
The whole of the 2013 Atlantic basin hurricane season, which begins June 1 and ends Nov. 30, is expected to have 18 named storms, half of which are expected to become hurricanes. The four major storms expected will be category 3-4-5 with sustained winds of 111 mph or greater.
“The tropical Atlantic has anomalously warmed over the past several months, and it appears that the chances of an El Niño event this summer and fall are unlikely,” said Phil Klotzbach, who authors the 30th annual forecast with William Gray of the CSU Tropical Meteorology Project. “Typically, El Nino is associated with stronger vertical shear across the tropical Atlantic, creating conditions less conducive for storm formation.”
The team’s annual predictions are intended to provide a best estimate of activity to be experienced during the upcoming season, not an exact measure.
Five hurricane seasons since 1900 exhibited oceanic and atmospheric characteristics most similar to those observed in February-March 2013: 1915, 1952, 1966, 1996 and 2004. Four out of the five years had above-average hurricane activity.
The team will issue forecast updates on June 3 and Aug. 2.