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CSU forecasters up Atlantic hurricane prediction

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Colorado State University on Wednesday revised its prediction for the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, now saying the period will see above-average activity. 

The forecasters at CSU, based in Fort Collins, Colorado, predicted as of July 5 that there will be 15 named storms this year, up from the 13 predicted in June and 11 predicted in April. They also predicted eight hurricanes, up from six in June and four in the previous report, and three major hurricanes, up from the two predicted in the previous two reports.

“We now anticipate an above-average Atlantic basin hurricane season,” the university said in its report, referring to the median 1981-2010 season. “The odds of a significant El Niño in 2017 have continued to diminish, and most of the tropical and subtropical Atlantic remains anomalously warm. With the increase in our forecast, the probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the United States coastline and in the Caribbean has increased as well.”

El Niño conditions typically result in below-average storm activity while the opposite is true of La Niña.

The probability for at least one major hurricane — Category 3, 4 or 5 — making landfall along the entire U.S. coastline is 62% compared with the 52% average over the last century, researchers said. For the U.S. East Coast, including the Florida peninsula, the probability is 39% compared with the historical 31% century average. For the U.S. Gulf Coast from the Florida panhandle westward to Brownsville, Texas, the probability is 38% compared with the 30% average for the last century.

Atlantic basin Accumulated Cyclone Energy and Net Tropical Cyclone activity in 2017 are expected to be about 145% of their long-term averages for the remainder of the season, the university said.

“As is the case with all hurricane seasons, coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them,” the report said. “They should prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted.”