Due to El Niño, meteorologists and hurricane analysts believe that this year’s hurricane season across the Atlantic will be ‘below normal.’ For months, the possible severity of the 2018 hurricane season has been up in the air. Many forecasters and hurricane analysts proposed that 2018 would be an unremitting and storm-filled season that would be multitudes worse than 2017. Thankfully, the developing El Niño is contributing to a more subdued hurricane season.
A Relief in the Forecast
Currently, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts 9-13 named tropical storms to develop in the Atlantic, Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico. Of these named storms, 4-7 are expected to turn into hurricanes. While 7 is still a larger number on the hurricane scale, it’s still a drop from the original prediction made in May. Earlier in the year, NOAA originally predicted 5-9 hurricanes. Of this forecast, Alberto, Beryl, Chris, and Debby have already formed.
This relief in the forecast is due to varying oceanic and atmospheric conditions that have formed a ‘hostile’ environment for hurricanes to prosper in. Typically, an El Niño will suppress any hurricane activity through the means of strong winds which will deter and disfigure any developing storms nearby. With these changes, forecasters are confident that there’s a 70% chance of El Niño will form again. Aside from El Niño, cool Atlantic waters are also a natural deterrent for hurricanes since these storms thrive on warm water to fuel their fury.
Unfortunately, while the Atlantic coasts may be getting a reprieve from a hefty hurricane season, it seems that the Pacific won’t be getting off too easily. While El Niño helps the Atlantic, it actually hurts the Pacific. Currently, there are 11 named storms that are predicted to form in the Pacific coast. In light of this recent forecast, FEMA administrator, Brock Long, explains, “Today’s updated outlook is a reminder that we are entering the height of hurricane season and everyone needs to know their true vulnerabilities to storms and storm surges. Now is the time to know who issues evacuation orders in their community, heed the warnings, update your insurance and have a preparedness plan” (source). While the storm forecast may have reduced, it only takes one strong storm to inflict unimaginable damage to communities across the US.