- In April, AccuWeather released its 2019 Atlantic hurricane forecast for the upcoming season, which runs from June 1 to November 30.
- A below-average season was originally predicted, but now researchers at Colorado State University suggest we may see as many as 12 more storms this year.
Summer means longer days, more outdoor time, and...hurricanes. Yep, the official start of Atlantic hurricane season kicked off June 1, and if the predictions are correct, we have a handful of tropical storms still to come.
As evidenced by Hurricane Michael and Hurricane Florence, 2018 saw its fair share of severe weather, raking in 15 storms and eight hurricanes. When AccuWeather released its first forecast for 2019 in April, it predicted 12-14 tropical storms, adding that 5-7 of these storms could have hurricane potential. Two-to-four had the possibility of developing into major hurricanes (Category 3, 4, or 5).
Researchers at the Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project, however, predicted a slightly below-average season, with 13 storms and 5 hurricanes. But in August, the CSU team released an updated forecast, and, unfortunately, they've increased their original numbers.
Though AccuWeather claims the first few weeks of August will see a "lull," the peak is still to come—and it may bring an additional 12 named storms. According to the CSU site, "Of those, researchers expect six to become hurricanes and two to reach major hurricane strength."
If CSU's updated findings are correct, that comes out to 14 storms, and seven hurricanes for the entire season (including Hurricanes Andrea and Barry from earlier in 2019). The original prediction of two major hurricanes remains the same.
Updated seasonal #hurricane forecast from @ColoradoStateU continues to predict near-average season: 14 named storms, 7 hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes. These numbers include Andrea and Barry that formed in May and July, respectively.https://t.co/1NupvVv24O pic.twitter.com/ODM3mafo33— Philip Klotzbach (@philklotzbach) August 5, 2019
So, where does this insight come from? Forecasters have been pulling data from past years that show similar weather patterns (AKA analog years). This year, for example, bears resemblance to 1969 weather-wise, during which the Category 5 Hurricane Camille wreaked havoc on the Gulf coastline.
That doesn't necessarily mean another natural disaster of equal caliber will make a comeback in 2019, but it does indicate that intense weather is a high possibility. "This year, at least the climate pattern has the capability to produce several very strong storms and so people should not let their guard down," explained AccuWeather Atlantic Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski. He added that "just about all coastal areas look like they have equal chances" in the upcoming season.
All in all, no matter how the tropical weather pans out, Kottlowski advises that everyone living in hurricane-prone areas generate a safety plan. Stock up on storm essentials ASAP!
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