Updated Hurricane Season Forecast: Near to Above Normal Season is Now Likely

17 07 2018

Dale C. S. Destin |

Good news and bad news: Our July updated forecast for the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season is now available and it indicates that the hurricane season will likely be near to above normal. The prediction is for an accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) index of 99, 12 named storms, 5 becoming hurricanes and 3 becoming major hurricanes.


The good news is that there is a 37 percent chance of there being a near normal season. The bad news is that there is also a 37 percent chance of there being an above normal/active season; hence, the near to above normal forecast for the season.

Recall that during a near normal season, there is a 33% chance of a named storm (tropical storm or hurricane) affecting, i.e. passing within 120 miles of Antigua and Barbuda. By comparison, during an above normal season, the chance soars to 75%.

With respect to hurricanes, the chance of us being affected during a near normal season – 18 percent, more than triples – 59 percent, for an above normal/active season. Further, we have never had a major hurricane during a near normal season. Clearly, an active season is least prefered.

Chance of Anu Being Affected By TS

These new numbers represent a marginal increase above those of the previous forecast. Previously, the forecast called for an ACE of 93, 11 named storms, 5 hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes. If the season turns out to be near normal, it would be due mainly to cooler than normal sea surface temperatures, across the tropical North Atlantic. If it turns out to be active, it would be mainly due to the absence or late development of El Nino.

Recall that the ACE is the overall predictor of a hurricane season, it is a measure that represent the total number of storms, their intensities and durations.

A typical season has an ACE index of 106, 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes. Major hurricanes have sustained wind speeds of at least 178 km/h or 111 miles per hour (e.g., Category 3 or higher), based on the Saffir Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

If this forecast pans out, 2018 would be the least active since 2015. Notwithstanding, a season with activity second only to 2017, since 2005, cannot be ruled out.

According to other forecasts surveyed, the latest consensus is for an ACE of 89, 12 named storms, 5 hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes. Thus, our forecast is calling for slightly higher activity; however, regardless of the forecast, you should always prepare well each season, as it only takes one hurricane to ruin your year.

The Atlantic hurricane season started June 1 and will continue until November 30.

We will be updating this forecast by August 10.

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