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This year’s Atlantic hurricane season is expected to see average activity, but uncertainty remains, Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project said Thursday.
The forecasters said they expect 13 named storms and six hurricanes through the end of this year’s Atlantic hurricane season, including Hurricane Alex in January.
The probability of major hurricane making landfall in the U.S. is estimated at about 90% of the long-term average, the CSU forecasters said.
“We anticipate an average Atlantic basin hurricane season,” according to the outlook. “While shear enhancing El Niño conditions are likely to dissipate in the next several months, the far North Atlantic is quite cold. These cold anomalies tend to force atmospheric conditions that are less conducive for Atlantic hurricane formation and intensification.”
However, the project said there is significant uncertainty this year given factors such as instability in the Atlantic basin and the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), an irregularly periodical variation in winds and sea surface temperatures over the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean
The U.S. hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.
Also Thursday, the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center said El Nino is likely to be neutralized in the Northern Hemisphere this spring or early this summer.
When Hurricane Alex showed up off the Azores last week, it was the first Atlantic hurricane to develop in January since 1938. A look at other off-season hurricanes, those that develop before June 1 and after Nov. 30, including one that spanned two years.