ORLANDO, FL -
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, updated its May 2018 hurricane season forecast today, and it is calling for below-average activity: nine to 13 named storms, of which four to seven could become hurricanes, and of those, up to two that could be major hurricanes.
Below-average sea surface temperatures have prevailed across the eastern Atlantic during late Spring and early Summer, that being the region through which tropical storms travel and get their steam as they move westward. This region tends to pick up in intensity during the months of August and September. It is worth noting that this same region has been showing signs of awakening during the last few weeks, as sea surface temperatures seem to be on the rise.
Also, Saharan dust has deeply dominated the eastern Atlantic, many times layering the entire Caribbean with a thick layer of dust. Saharan dust tends to limit thunderstorm activity, and therefore limits hurricane activity during the season.
It is important to remember that even if NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center increased the likelihood of a below-average Atlantic season to 60 percent, it still only takes one storm to make it an active season for you and your loved ones.
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These seasonal forecasts do not represent a landfall forecast, which is why it is important to stay informed and to keep in mind that we still have about four months left until the end of hurricane season. A seasonal forecast such as the hurricane season forecast depends on large weather patterns, such as El Niño or the Madden-Julian Oscillation, MJO.
The likelihood of El Niño starting to develop during the late fall continues to increase, with the likelihood projected at 70 percent during the latter part of hurricane season.
Once a tropical system is formed, the system depends on short-term, atmospheric patterns that guide their trajectory and possible landfall, as well as their strength. These types of patterns are only predictable within about one week of a storm’s potential landfall.
With this update, NOAA calls for a 60 percent chance of a below-normal season (up from 25 percent in May), 30 percent chance of having near-average activity and (down from 35 percent) a 10 percent chance from having an above-average season.
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