Sea surface temperatures predict another

Nestled off the coast of Georgia and South Carolina, the storm track forecast is very similar to the look of a typical hurricane season, but there is potential for warm waters and tropical disturbance in the middle of the Atlantic.

The Atlantic basin has only had three Atlantic hurricanes this season (Harvey, Irma and Maria) and a total of only seven. For the seasonal record, a record 14 hurricanes formed in 1928. With the warmer than normal ocean temperatures across most of the Atlantic Basin, even if the season comes in on the weaker side this year, there is still potential for some hurricane activity this year.

This cooler than average water temperature in the Atlantic is a clear indication that we may be entering a more active season, but not too early. The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1 and ends November 30. If there is above normal tropical development, the storms would likely form during the second half of the season (August through November).

A few locations may see potential Tropical Development This Season:

The Hurricane Prediction Center is monitoring the waters of the Atlantic for possible “Medusa shapes.” It has been over the last two months since we have seen these strong onshore winds. Not only are these strong onshore winds, they are no longer the strength of gale force winds. The most recent forecast from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) shows this November temperature anomaly will likely remain. Some computer models are calling for the wave formation to increase in strength beginning later this week. There is no need to panic and pray that this wave moves towards the northeast before approaching land. Since some computer models are calling for the wave to track more towards the west, here is what remains to be seen.

Additionally, the area of low pressure near the north/north-central Atlantic is showing signs of developing into a tropical storm or hurricane over the next several days. The swells produced by this system are potentially causing some minor beach erosion along the east coast of the U.S.

The forecast models have been fairly consistent with this system, but the model guidance from the NHC is currently much less organized than the GFS. You can get an idea of this by comparing the EURO with the GFS.

The GFS model does have a lot of potential development with a low pressure system. However, to become a tropical storm or hurricane, the low pressure center would need to become centered in the central or northern Atlantic Ocean. This could cause some potential problems for the ocean waters, but fortunately this does not appear to be the case. A closer look at the NHC forecast will give us more details on possible development and development potential.

Hurricane season takes a direct path from Africa to the eastern U.S. by the middle of August. Almost 80 percent of hurricane activity occurs between August 15 and November 30. Based on the trend in the global atmosphere since last summer, it is likely more hurricanes could form over the next few months.

Hurricane Season Outlook:

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), we are at a similar level of confidence in the hurricane season outlook to this time last year. However, you should take this same weather forecast with a grain of salt. There was a high amount of uncertainty coming into last year’s hurricane season. The NHC did say that the season would be slightly above normal, but it wasn’t until about a week before Hurricane Florence developed that the actual season was over.

As mentioned before, forecasts are not always accurate and sometimes there is not enough information to make predictions. If you have questions or are interested in this year’s hurricane forecast, please visit NOAA’s hurricane forecast web page. For those who just want the numbers for the NHC, here is what the organization said for 2019:

9 tropical cyclones are expected (2 “above normal” storms, 6 “below normal” storms)

5 hurricanes are expected (2 “above normal” storms, 2 “below normal” storms)

1 major hurricane is expected (0 “above normal” storms, 0 “below normal” storms)

1-2 typhoons are expected (0 “above normal” storms, 0 “below normal” storms)


Below is a breakdown of what is expected to happen over the next 9 months:

Between August 15 and November 30:

Temperatures on average in the Atlantic will be 1.2 degrees Fahrenheit above normal.

There will be an increase in the potential for tropical development during the hurricane season, but this number could change based on which system does not develop.

No more than 9 tropical storms will develop

No more than 8 hurricanes will develop

One major hurricane will develop

Tracking systems show that a northwest course is likely for September 13-21.

The 2019 season has already produced 3 named storms

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