Friday, October 20, 2017

Tropics all quiet — for now

Hurricane Matthew


The tropics are quiet right now, but meteorologists at Colorado State University expect the hurricane season to pick up.

CSU researchers with the Tropical Meteorology Project released their July forecast, and revised their projections upward for the remainder of the season, calling for 15 named storms and eight hurricanes, with three of them major hurricanes.

“We now anticipate an above-average Atlantic basin hurricane season,” the report, written by Philip Klotzbach and Michael Bell said. “The odds of a significant El Niño in 2017 have continued to diminish, and most of the tropical and subtropical Atlantic remains anomalously warm. The lack of El Niño conditions typically leads to a lower shear environment in the tropical Atlantic, while a warmerthan-normal tropical Atlantic provides more fuel for developing tropical cyclones.”

CSU forecasts pegged the season as below average in April, with 11 named storms and four hurricanes. Since then, the estimates, thanks to the decreasing likelihood of El Niño, have gone up, with 14 named and seven hurricanes in June.

Estimates also give a 39 percent chance of a major hurricane making landfall on the Florida Peninsula or east coast of the United States, and a 38 percent change of landfall somewhere on the Gulf Coast.

There have been four named storms this year, none of them hurricanes. The most recent, Tropical Storm Don, dissipated in the Caribbean Sea on Tuesday, spending barely 36 hours as a tropical system.

The next forecast releases in August, as the hurricane season turns towards its traditional period of peak activity in August and September.

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