CSU forecasters issue outlook for 2017 hurricane season
The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season forecast released Thursday from Colorado State University calls for the number of named storms and hurricanes to be slightly below historical averages.
A typical year averages about 12 tropical storms, with seven spinning into hurricanes, based on weather records that date back to 1950. The average is twelve.
Lead researcher Dr. Phil Klotzbach says there are a couple of reasons for the prediction.
El Nino increases upper level wind shear over the Caribbean and Atlantic, which creates an unfavorable environment for storms to develop and maintain their intensity.
"The tropical Atlantic has anomalously cooled over the past month and the far North Atlantic is relatively cold, potentially indicative of a negative phase of the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation", the CSU team said.
The 2017 season, which runs from June 1 to November 30, follows the deadliest in over 10 years for the Atlantic basin, and the costliest since 2012.
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The U.S., despite coming very close last year, has not been hit by a major hurricane in more than 11 years. First let's start at the one where everybody knows it's name (cue Cheers theme music): El Niño. Preparedness is paramount because it only takes one storm or hurricane to make landfall and cause significant damage.
Of those four hurricanes, two are projected to reach major (category three or higher) status. The medians between 1981 and 2010 were 6.5 hurricanes and two major hurricanes. This forecast doesn't include how many of those storms will be landfalling systems.
The team predicts that 2017 hurricane activity will be about 85 percent of the average season. The chances of a hurricane striking the entire coastline -from ME to the U.S.
Hurricane Elena struck the MS coast in 1985.
"Even if our forecasts are dead on flawless, we can't predict where the storms are going to go", he said, "and it only takes one for it to be an active season for you".
Last year's hurricane activity was above normal in terms of activity, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.
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