While it may not be time to heave a sigh of relief just yet, climatologists are calling for a below-normal hurricane season this year, as a potential El Niño could limit the development of storms.
The report also predicts that there will be six hurricanes among those 11 named storms: four hurricanes and two major hurricanes, which are Category 3 storms and above with sustained wind speeds of at least 111 miles per hour. The median during 1981-2010 was 12 named storms, four of them hurricanes, including two major hurricanes.
Colorado State University released its annual hurricane season forecast this morning during the National Tropical Weather Conference in San Antonio. It only takes one storm to hit the coast to make an "inactive" season an "active" season for the ones affected. "1957, 1965, 1976 and 2002 had slightly below-average hurricane activity, while 1972 was a well below-average season".
El Niño can enhance wind shear in the Atlantic basin, restricting sufficient thunderstorm development, and, therefore, limiting tropical cyclone development.
"Also, the Atlantic has got somewhat cooler than normal", said Klotzbach. Of those, two are predicted to be major, which means Category 3, 4, or 5.
Overall, the team predicts the 2017 season will be about 85 percent of the average season.
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Klotzbach says his next round of predictions for the season will be released on June 1, the first day of hurricane season. After haivng weak La Niña conditions past year, we have been moving towards neutral conditions. By the end of November, there were 15 named storms, and seven hurricanes.
El Nino creates stronger westerly winds that can work to shred hurricanes in the Atlantic during storm season.
The chance of landfall along the East Coast is 24 percent, well below the long-term average of 31 percent.
"Matthew was so destructive that its name has been retired, but North Carolina will never forget how this hurricane turned life upside down for so many people in our state", Cooper said.
This is the team's 34th forecast.
"We had only four storms that entire year, but the one - the "A" storm was Hurricane Alicia, which did a huge amount of damage in the Houston metropolitan area".