Early 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season Forecast Released
Predictions from Colorado State tropical team and others vary from below to above average activity
- Published:April 5, 2018
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- Here’s what we don’t want to see a repeat of — last year’s hyperactive season with numerous Cat 5 storms and landfalls.
We are still three months away from the start of the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season, and over five months away from the peak of the season, but 2017’s hyperactivity has many already on edge with anticipation. Last year finished off as a top-10 season for activity with numerous Cat 5 hurricanes and devastating landfalls across the Caribbean, and from Florida to Texas.
Colorado State’s Tropical Meteorology Project, founded by the late, Dr. William Gray, released their pre-season predictions today with NOAA’s preliminary forecast is due just prior to the official start of the season on June 1st.
Colorado State releases an updated forecast as we move closer to and through the early part of the season, and they readily admit that the April predictions are the lowest confidence of the forecasts. Last year’s April forecast called for a below-average season of activity — which was the opposite of the eventual reality — primarily based on predictions of El Nino conditions developing as we moved through summer. Each subsequent forecast increased and moved closer to the eventual outcome as more data became available as we moved closer to, and into summer.
We remain under a La Nina Advisory but conditions have weakened this year and are expected to continue weakening to ENSO-neutral this spring, remaining neutral through summer. Last year’s hyperactive tropical season came under La Nina conditions which favor more tropical development in the Atlantic due to lower wind shear and lighter trade winds over the tropical Atlantic. ENSO neutral conditions are most associated with average tropical activity, however, it is important to remember that ENSO predictions at this time of year are lower confidence due to what is termed the ‘spring-barrier‘. A new ENSO forecast is due out on April 12th.
Other groups have released early season predictions as well, including WeatherBell, AccuWeather, and Climate Forecast Applications Network (CFAN) with a range of predictions from below to above-average. Many more groups will join in the discussion over the coming weeks — the Seasonal Hurricane Predictions website amasses and averages many of these forecasts, displaying the forecasts in easily digestible graphics.