Thursday, September 21, 2017

Colo. St.: 61 percent chance of Florida hurricane this year

Hurricane Matthew


Researchers with the Tropical Meteorology Project at Colorado State University say that the odds of a hurricane making landfall somewhere in Florida are 61 percent this year, according to new projections released Friday.

August and September mark the traditional peak of hurricane activity in the Atlantic basin, and thanks to what the report calls “anomalous” conditions in the Atlantic, researchers are calling for an even more active fall in the tropics than they did a month ago, estimating eight hurricanes out of 16 named storms.

Tropical Storm Emily, which generated overnight last week just off Florida’s west coast before coming ashore Monday afternoon, was the fifth named storm of 2017.

Emily may be just a taste of what’s to come over the next few months however.

Researches Philip Klotzbach and Michael Bell, who lead the efforts at Colorado State, say that conditions are right for an active August and September ahead. While the northern Atlantic Ocean is colder than normal for this time of year, and stronger than usual wind shear – the force which disrupts the closer circulation of tropical systems – exists in the Caribbean Sea, warmer waters in the main latitudes where tropical systems develop combined with weak wind shear in that area is thought to be a more powerful force.

“We believe that the hurricane-enhancing conditions are likely to dominate this season, leading us to call for an active season,” Klotzbach and Bell wrote.

They’re quick to point out there is still a lot of uncertainty to be had in the current reports, but research points to an above-average hurricane season.

Florida’s odds of being impacted by a hurricane since 1981 have been effectively a coin flip, 51 percent, but the research calls for a 61 percent this year, and 27 percent chance that the landfall is by a “major” hurricane, one with winds greater than 111 mph. Traditionally, the odds are 21 percent.

They give a 62 percent chance of a major hurricane landing anywhere on U.S. shores this year, and 38 percent somewhere on the east coast of the U.S. or the Florida peninsula.

As of Friday, forecasters from the National Hurricane Center are watching a pair of tropical disturbances, one in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Colombia, and another wave just off the shores of Africa. The latter wave, forecasters say, is likely to develop into a tropical system early next week.


Named Storms
April 6: 11
June 1: 14
July 5: 15
Friday: 16

April 6: 4(2)
June 1: 6(2)
July 5: 8(3)
Friday: 8(3)


Florida 61%(27%)
Texas 41%(15%)
Louisiana 38%(15%)
North Carolina 35%(10%)
South Carolina 22%(5%)

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