Quiet forecast for Atlantic hurricanes

Published on August 5th, 2015

All of the forecasts are in, and with the heart of the Atlantic hurricane season approaching, a quiet year still looks likely. The final “preseason” forecast from top experts at Colorado State University, released Tuesday, again calls for a “well below-average hurricane season for the Atlantic basin in 2015,” researchers said.

A total of 8 named tropical storms are forecast to form, of which two or three should be hurricanes. In their first forecast in April, they predicted 7 named storms, of which three would be hurricanes.

The Atlantic hurricane season started June 1 and lasts until Nov. 30. So far this year, three tropical storms (Ana, Bill and Claudette) have formed in the Atlantic, but no hurricanes, according to the National Hurricane Center. August and September are the two most active months for hurricanes in the Atlantic.

A typical year, based on weather records that go back to 1950, has 12 tropical storms, of which seven are hurricanes. A tropical storm has sustained winds of 39 mph; it becomes a hurricane when its winds reach 74 mph.

The forecast does not include hurricanes that form in the eastern Pacific basin, nor typhoons in the western Pacific.

The prediction was released by meteorologists Phil Klotzbach and William Gray at Colorado State’s Tropical Meteorology Project.

“The tropical Atlantic continues to exhibit conditions that are less conducive for tropical cyclone formation, and a strong El Niño event has already developed,” Klotzbach said in a release. “Historical data indicate fewer storms form in these conditions.”

Klotzbach cautioned coastal residents to take the proper precautions, regardless of the below-average basin-wide forecast. “It takes only one landfall event near you to make this an active season,” he said.

Colorado State was the first organization to issue seasonal hurricane forecasts and is now in its 32nd year of issuing them. Recent forecasts from the team have been rather poor. In 2014, they predicted three hurricanes and six formed (though their prediction of 8 named storms was quite close to what happened: 9). And in 2013, only two hurricanes formed after a spring prediction of nine.

Federal forecasters from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will issue their updated hurricane forecast on Thursday. In May, they also called for a quiet season, with 3 to 6 hurricanes likely.


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