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New report predicts busier-than-average 2018 hurricane season

Colorado State University releases hurricane season forecast

This geocolor image from NOAA satellite GOES-16 shows Hurricane Irma, left, and Hurricane Jose, right, in the Atlantic Ocean on September 7, 2017.
This geocolor image from NOAA satellite GOES-16 shows Hurricane Irma, left, and Hurricane Jose, right, in the Atlantic Ocean on September 7, 2017. (NOAA)

ORLANDO, Fla. – The latest forecast for the 2018 hurricane season was released Thursday, and numbers show slightly higher than average activity is expected.

In its last update ahead of the 2018 season, which begins June 1, Colorado State University’s forecast numbers predict the season will bring 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes. 

The reason for the slightly higher than normal numbers is due to weakening La Niña weather pattern, as it transitions into more of a neutral setup, according to experts.

"The current weak La Niña event appears likely to transition to neutral ENSO over the next several months, but at this point, we do not anticipate a significant El Niño this summer/fall. The western tropical Atlantic is anomalously warm right now, while portions of the eastern tropical Atlantic and the far North Atlantic are anomalously cool. There is considerably uncertainty as to what the configuration of Atlantic sea surface temperatures will look like for the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season."
-- Philip J. Klotzbach and Michael M. Bell (Colorado State University)

Hurricane season predictions are developed using CSU and the National Hurricane Center as research entities.

According to CSU, the forecast is based on an extended range early-April statistical prediction scheme compiled for almost 30 years. It takes into account ocean temperature and global patterns.

The forecast breaks down into the following three categories:

  • Named storms: Storms that organized and strengthen enough to become at least a tropical storm.
  • Hurricanes: Storms that gain wind speeds between 74-110 mph (Category 1-2).
  • Major Hurricanes: Storms that strengthen to winds of greater than 110 mph (Category 3-5). 

The National Hurricane Center will release its last update before the season in the upcoming days.

In December, the NHC released preliminary numbers of 15 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes. Use the chart below to compare the NHC’s December forecast with CSU’s latest numbers.

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Learn more about the science behind the numbers and find the full report from CSU here.


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