Published: Mon, April 10, 2017
Sport | By Noel Norman

Forecasters Predict Slightly Below Average Hurricane Season in 2017

Forecasters Predict Slightly Below Average Hurricane Season in 2017

According to the just-released Extended Range Forecast from Colorado State University Climatologist Phil Klotzbach, the Atlantic basin will experience slightly below-average activity, due in part to the likeliness of the current neutral climate phase transitioning to either a weak or moderate El Niño by the peak (mid-September) of the Atlantic hurricane season.

Klotzbach's forecast calls for 11 named storms in the Atlantic Basin, including 4 which should become hurricanes and 2 major (Category 3 or higher) storms. The 60-year average is 12 names storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes.

Colorado State University released its 34th annual pre-season hurricane forecast on Thursday, almost two months before the official start of the season. "As is the case with all hurricane seasons, coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them".

AccuWeather released its hurricane forecast for the upcoming season Wednesday, predicting 10 named storms would form, of which five will be hurricanes.

El Niño is characterized by warmer-than-normal ocean water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean near the equator. When those winds reach at least 74 miles per hour, it becomes a hurricane, and if they surpass 111 miles per hour, it is considered a "major" storm. That year was an average year for hurricane activity.

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Hurricane season begins June 1 and runs through November 30. The average over the last century has been 31 percent.

Such conditions "are associated with a more stable atmosphere as well as drier air, both of which suppress organized thunderstorm activity necessary for hurricane development", the posting said. The forecast is also projecting a slightly lower than normal chance of a major hurricane making landfall on the northern Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle to Texas.

However, the researchers noted that uncertainty has played a large role in their forecast this year. Instead it briefly came ashore in SC as a Category 1 hurricane.

The CSU team has been issuing annual hurricane prediction reports since 1984 under the direction of William Gray.

However, despite the encouraging forecast from Colorado State, it takes only one storm to make landfall and cause significant danger.

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