Colorado State University scientists have predicted a more active Atlantic storm season this year, which is likely to result in seven hurricanes, three of them major, with an above normal probability of a U.S. landfall by a major hurricane.
The onslaught of storms left deep wounds across the Caribbean and southern United States that have not yet healed.
These 2018 predictions will be updated on May 31, July 2 and August 2.
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- 38 percent for the Gulf Coast from the Florida panhandle westward to Brownsville (average for the last century is 30 percent) - 52 percent for the Caribbean (average for the last century is 42 percent) Hurricane season begins June 1 and ends November 30.
It may seem like we just said goodbye to Harvey, Irma, and Maria, but the new hurricane season is near its official start of June 1.
Last year, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria devastated the U.S. Gulf Coast, Florida and Puerto Rico, respectively. However, because it comes so early, the April forecast can be the least accurate, according to Phil Klotzbach, lead author of the report. But Klotzbach said Pacific water temperatures will likely be neutral or only slightly warm, meaning wind sheer will be weak. A major hurricane is a Category 3 or above with winds of at least 111 miles per hour. That number is also above the past half-century average at 42 percent. An El Niño pattern tends to stunt the development of tropical activity in the Atlantic due in part to the increase upper-level westerly winds across the Caribbean.
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This year is more hard to call because neither the Atlantic nor the Pacific is offering forecasters a lot of clues, Klotzbach said. "The western tropical Atlantic is anomalously warm right now, while portions of the eastern tropical Atlantic and North Atlantic are anomalously cool". Still, there can always be surprises.
Colorado State researchers are predicting 14 named storms, slightly above the climatological median from 1981-2010 of 12. "If we knew exactly where it was going to hit it would be a lot easier, but it isn't", said Fugate said.
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