TAMPA, Fla (WFLA) – Colorado State University’s updated hurricane season outlook continues to predict a near-normal season.
The update was released Monday afternoon and predicts 12 more named storms, six more hurricanes and two major hurricanes.
Philip Klotzbach and his team of researchers at CSU took a look a few different factors that affect tropical development. In the updated report, the researchers mention that the current conditions across the Atlantic give “mixed signals” for the upcoming months.
Sea surface temperatures are cooler than average near the African coast while waters are warmer than average over the central Atlantic. Upper-level winds remain strong enough to continue inhibiting development, for now, while the amount of tropical moisture has been up and down over the past couple of months.
El Nino is also a factor that typically inhibits some tropical development. El Nino is currently forecast to weaken in the Pacific which would lead to more favorable conditions for tropical development in the Atlantic. However, Klotzbach and his team believe the warmer temperatures in the central tropical Pacific (the result of El Nino) should linger long enough to continue to help prevent development in the tropics.
Despite now being in August, usually one of the busiest months in hurricane season, the next couple of weeks are forecast to be rather quiet. Large amounts of Saharan dust are blowing off the Sahara in Africa every three to five days. The dusty plumes extend up between 5,000 and 20,000 feet into the atmosphere and are made up of dry air, mineral dust and strong winds, all of which inhibit the development of tropical waves.
Upper-level winds are also forecast to be strong in many areas across the Atlantic. Strong upper-level winds will tear a storm apart that may be trying to organize.