A day after hurricane season began on June 1, the hurricane research team at Colorado State University upped its forecast of the Atlantic hurricane season to “well above average” and predicted five major hurricanes.
In its June 2 forecast, the CSU Tropical Meteorology Project called for 20 named storms – just one below the predetermined amount of names for storms from the National Hurricane Center. Of the 20, 10 are expected to be hurricanes and five will strengthen to be a major hurricane (Category 3 or greater), CSU said. All are upticks from the team’s April forecast, and all are above the averages of about 14, 7 and 3 for a hurricane season.
Of top concern to coastal residents, CSU also increased the chance to 76% that the U.S. coastline would be hit by a major hurricane. In April, CSU had this probability at 70%. To put that into perspective, the average chance over the last century is 52%.
CSU put a probability of 51% that a major hurricane strikes the East Coast and 50% chance one could hit the Gulf Coast.
This latest forecast from CSU, which started seasonal forecasts 39 years ago by meteorology professor William Gray, joins other projections of a very active Atlantic hurricane season.
Phil Klotzbach, meteorologist and author of the CSU forecast report, said on Twitter: “One of the reasons for well above-average Atlantic seasonal hurricane forecast from CSU is due to the likely lack of El Nino this summer/fall. El Nino generally increases vertical wind shear in the Atlantic, tearing apart hurricanes.” Klotzbach took over writing the report following Gray’s death in 2016.
In addition, sea surface temperatures increased over the last several weeks. Warm water strengthens storms.
CSU will issue an update to its forecast on July 7.
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