A new update from NOAA seasonal hurricane forecasters has doubled the odds for an above-normal hurricane from their previous outlook in May.
The new August 10, forecast calls for calls for 14-21 named storms (winds of 39 mph or greater), of which 6-11 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or greater). Of those, 2-5 could become major hurricanes (winds of 111 mph or greater).
The season has fortunately been lackluster with one marginal short-lived hurricane. Hurricane Don stayed over the open central Atlantic and there hasn’t been any tropical activity since it faded on July 25.
Forecasters are projecting the long lull will change with the peak of hurricane season ahead in September.
NOAA forecasters have increased the likelihood of an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season to 60% (increased from the outlook issued in May, which predicted a 30% chance).
NOAA Meteorologists feel the hot ocean temperature in the Atlantic may overcome the effects of El Nino in the Pacific which has so far played a key role in the lack of hurricane activity this summer.
For this to happen the season will have to play catch up quickly to add another 10 to 17 named systems to the three tropical storms and one hurricane already this season. There was also an unnamed January subtropical storm added later in May to this year’s roster of storms to many people’s surprise.
The hurricane season runs until November 30 but most activity happens in September and the first half of October- certainly not in January- when the official start is June 1.
Things can fire up quickly in any given year and just look at 2022. No storms formed from July 3 through August 31, but then the tropics blasted off to the races.
Four hurricanes and two tropical storms were named in September, including, Hurricanes Fiona and Ian which rocked Puerto Rico and Fort Myers 10 days apart.
Colorado State University’s last seasonal-forecast called for a total of 18 named storms, nine of them being hurricanes, four Category 3 or above.
They too expect the rest of the season would be slightly above average.