Forecasting for the Atlantic hurricane season has increased slightly, with meteorologists at Colorado State University predicting six hurricanes, up from their previous forecast in April of five.
The outlook now anticipates a near-average probability that a major hurricane, category 3 or higher, will make landfall in the United States or the Caribbean.
The updated forecast, released by the CSU Tropical Meteorology Project on 4 June, excludes Subtropical Storm Andrea, which formed before the 1 June start of the 2019 season. Including Andrea, forecasters predict 14 named storms for the year.
Both the April and June forecasts predict two major hurricanes for the season.
The probability of such a hurricane tracking into the Caribbean this season was increased from the April number of 39% to 44%. The average for the last century is 42%.
“We have increased our forecast slightly and now believe that 2019 will have approximately average activity. There remains considerable uncertainty as to whether El Niño conditions will persist through the Atlantic hurricane season,” the forecast states.
“We currently anticipate that current weak El Niño event conditions will persist, but some anomalous cooling in recent weeks weakens our confidence in this assessment.”
El Niño conditions discourage Atlantic hurricane development by producing eastwardly winds that are unfavourable to formation.
Atlantic waters in recent weeks have warmed more quickly than normal, however, and Colorado State meteorologists say the region now has near-average sea surface temperatures.
Colorado State forecasting is based on averages from the 1981-2010 seasons. The 1981-2010 average presents a slightly lower number of named storms, at 12.1, and slightly higher number of hurricanes at 6.4.
“Everyone should realize that it is impossible to precisely predict this season’s hurricane activity in early June,” the forecast states.
“We issue these forecasts to satisfy the curiosity of the general public and to bring attention to the hurricane problem. There is a general interest in knowing what the odds are for an active or inactive season.”
Regardless of forecasting, the meteorologists encourage coastal residents to remain prepared.
“As is the case with all hurricane seasons,” the report stated, “coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them. They should prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted.”
To read the full forecast, visit www.tropical.colostate.edu.