Get ready to batten down the hatches. Again.
In a preseason forecast issued Thursday, Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project predicts the upcoming hurricane season that begins June 1 will again be busy, although not as bad as the brutal 2017 season. The forecast calls for seven hurricanes, three hurricanes at Cat 3 intensity or worse, and 14 named storms.
Hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach, a protege of pioneering meteorologist William Gray, blamed warm waters in the western Atlantic and the mediocre odds for an El Niño in the Pacific for the uptick.
“The odds of getting a real gangbusters El Niño that kills the season is slim,” he said. “We can’t rule anything out, but the odds are reduced.”
This year’s forecast, the 35th in what has become a traditional season opener, relies on 29 years worth of observational data, although Klotzbach and fellow forecaster Michael Bell warn that no prediction is guaranteed. The forecast will be updated, and likely improve, in late May and again in August before the peak of the season kicks in.
“It’s like trying to pick who’s going to win the NCAA tournament in the first round,” he said. “Your odds are a lot higher in the final four.”
Read more at our news partner, the Miami Herald.