The 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season Summary

2 12 2018

Dale C. S. Destin |

The 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season came to an uneventful end yesterday. However, it was the third consecutive above normal/active season – leaving deaths and destruction in its wake.HurTracks2018

It will be remembered by the region (Caribbean), not for its activity, but because the islands were generally spared its activity following on the heels of the catastrophic/cataclysmic 2017 season. Many islands in the Caribbean are still very far from full recovery from last year, and another similar such season would have caused things to go from extremely bad to double horrendously bad (so to speak).

The season produced 15 named storms (NSs), 8 of which become hurricanes (Hs) and 2 intensified into major hurricanes (MHs) – Category 3 and over. The Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE), a measure of the overall activity of the season, was 128. The ACE last years was 225.

A normal season produces 12 NSs, 6 Hs, 3 MHs and 106 ACE. Relative to a normal season, this season had 25% more NSs than normal, 33% more Hs, 33% less MHs and 21% more ACE than normal.

The active 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season left in its wake 154 deaths and around 34 billion dollars in damage. The strongest hurricane was Michael with 250 km/h (155 mph) winds. It was also the deadliest with 60 deaths. The most destructive was Florence with over $17.9 billion.

Relative to Antigua and Barbuda

It was an inactive season for our islands. No tropical cyclone (depression, tropical storm, hurricane) affected Antigua and Barbuda i.e. came within 193 km (120 mi). Isaac came the closest but still passed over 222 km (138 mi) to our south – between Dominica and Martinique.

Relative to the Rest of the Caribbean

The Caribbean saw four tropical cyclones entering or forming in the area – Tropical Storms Alberto, Isaac and Kirk, and MH Michael. Alberto proved the deadliest for the region, killing 10 persons in Cuba. Michael was also very impactful to western Cuba; however, no deaths were reported.

Seasonal forecast

I issued five forecasts for the 2018 season – these were for mainly above normal activity:

2018HurricaneSeasonGraphic

Interestingly, my best forecast was issued in April and the second best was issued in May. It is interesting because usually the earlier forecasts are the least skilful, while the latest (August forecasts) are the most skilful. However, in this case, the first was best and the last (August) tied with June for the worst. Notwithstanding, all forecasts captured the numbers for the season within the ranges issued – the 70% confidence interval.

Of the over 25 groups who have submitted their seasonal forecast to the website – http://seasonalhurricanepredictions.bsc.es/, most forecast a near normal season w.r.t. hurricanes – six. Further, as the season went by, most groups downgraded their forecasts – calling for a near to below average season. It is also noted that the average number of hurricanes predicted went from eight in March/April to 5 by July/August. Meanwhile, the number of named storms went from 13 in March/April to 11 by July/August.

Like me, most groups decreased the amount of activity initially forecast for the season. However, (with humility) my forecast was among the better forecasts – doing similar to or better than notable groups such as National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Colorado State University (CSU), United Kingdom Met Office (UKMET), and Tropical Storm Risk (TSR).

Notable records

The 2018 season is the first and only on record to see seven storms that were subtropical in nature at some point in their lifetimes. These are (Alberto, Beryl, Debby, Ernesto, Joyce, Leslie, and Oscar).

On October 11, for the first time in history, a tropical storm warning was issued for Madeira. This was due to Leslie, which became the first tropical cyclone to pass within 160 km (100 mi) of the archipelago since reliable record-keeping began in 1851.

Good riddance to you hurricane season. We wish never to see you again but we know only too well that you will be back in seven months – June 1 to November 30. Nevertheless, we will be prepared!


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