Hurricane season officially began on June 1 and will run through November 30. Recently updated forecasts from the Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project have increased the number of storms expected in the upcoming busy season. They are now claiming a total of 20 named storms, 10 of which are expected to turn into hurricanes. Of those 10 hurricanes, 5 are expected to reach Category 3 or stronger. This is an increase of one storm in each category compared to the April forecast. While the general trend in hurricane activity since 1995 has decreased, “there is still significant variability from year to year,” California State University hurricane scientist Phil Klotzbach said. He urges everyone in hurricane-prone areas to remain prepared for the possibility of a major hurricane this season.
One factor cited for the increase in CSU’s hurricane forecast is the projected phase of ENSO, commonly referred to as El Niño or La Niña. ENSO is one of the strongest indicators of hurricane activity, as La Niña typically enhances hurricane season compared to El Niño. La Niña is the cooling of the eastern tropical Pacific, and it has played a role in the last two hurricane seasons. Its counterpart, El Niño, has stronger wind shear aloft that limits the growth of tropical storms and hurricanes. This year’s hurricane season is expected to be more active than last year, and hurricane experts are urging people to prepare.
Warmer-than-average water temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean are another factor that is used to predict an active hurricane season. Hurricane season typically begins when water temperatures reach around 80 degrees, which typically occurs between June 1 and November 30. However, this year, warmer water temperatures appear earlier and at farther north latitudes, indicating a busy hurricane season. Warmer ocean waters provide more energy for storm formation, so we can expect to see more storms this hurricane season. This is just one of the many factors that go into predicting hurricanes, so be sure to keep an eye on the latest updates from your local weather station.
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