Colorado State University hurricane researchers continue to predict a below-average Atlantic hurricane season, saying the two primary reasons for this are the tropical Atlantic remaining much colder than normal and the potential development of a weak El Niño.
Vertical wind shear was much stronger than normal across the Caribbean in July, which is typically associated with quieter Atlantic hurricane seasons. There is a potential for El Niño conditions to develop over the next few months, the CSU researchers reported in an August update of their predictions. If this occurs, it would tend to increase vertical wind shear in the tropical Atlantic, tearing apart hurricanes as they try to develop.
Meanwhile, the tropical eastern and central Pacific is currently slightly warmer than usual.
The CSU Tropical Meteorology Project team is predicting a total of nine named storms to form after Aug. 1. Of those, researchers expect three to become hurricanes and one to reach major hurricane strength (Saffir/Simpson category 3-4-5) with sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or greater. These forecast numbers do not include Tropical Cyclones Alberto, Beryl and Chris, which formed prior to Aug. 1.
The team predicts that 2018 hurricane activity will be about 70 percent of the average season. By comparison, 2017’s hurricane activity was about 245 percent of the average season.
The forecast team also tracks the likelihood of tropical storm-force, hurricane-force and major hurricane-force winds occurring at specific locations along the coastal United States, the Caribbean and Central America. For this information, visit the project’s Landfall Probability website.