Researchers predict above average 2018 hurricane season, 14 named storms


Colorado State University researchers are predicting a slightly above average hurricane season with 14 named storms this year and a 39 percent chance a major hurricane will make landfall on the U.S. east coast, including Florida.

Researchers expect seven of the named storms to become hurricanes and three to reach major hurricane strength with sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or greater.

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The report also includes the probability of major hurricanes making landfall:
•    63 percent for the entire U.S. coastline (average for the last century is 52 percent)
•    39 percent for the U.S. East Coast, including the Florida peninsula (average for the last century is 31 percent)
•    38 percent for the Gulf Coast from the Florida panhandle westward to Brownsville (average for the last century is 30 percent)
•    52 percent for the Caribbean (average for the last century is 42 percent)

So far, researchers say the 2018 hurricane season is exhibiting characteristics similar to 1960, 1967, 1996, 2006  and 2011.

“The years 1960, 1967 and 2006 had near-average Atlantic hurricane activity, while 1996 and 2011 were both above-normal hurricane seasons,” said Phil Klotzbach, research scientist in the Department of Atmospheric Science and lead author of the report.

The CSU team will issue forecast updates on May 31, July 2 and Aug. 2.

The team bases its forecasts on over 60 years of historical data that include Atlantic sea surface temperatures, sea level pressures, vertical wind shear levels (the change in wind direction and speed with height in the atmosphere), El Niño (warming of waters in the central and eastern tropical Pacific), and other factors.

The CSU forecast is intended to provide a best estimate of activity to be experienced during the upcoming season – not an exact measure.


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