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Another busy hurricane season is likely

Dr. Phil Klotzbach at Colorado State University releases April forecast for upcoming season

Hurricane Dorian (Photo by NOAA via Getty Images)
Hurricane Dorian (Photo by NOAA via Getty Images) (NOAA via Getty Images)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – This is a pretty dire report from the researchers at Colorado State University, especially for their April forecast for the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season.

Typically, their April numbers are some of their lower forecast numbers, but the conditions for a very active Atlantic hurricane season are all there, principally, a possible weak La Niña event developing, warmer than normal Atlantic Ocean temperatures over the Main Development Region (MDR) and a weaker than normal wind shear profile over the Caribbean Sea are the main negatives. These are all textbook predictors for an active hurricane season.

The only signal they see that would oppose an active season would be slightly cooler than normal North Atlantic water temperatures. Cooler water up north tends to allow for a stronger high pressure system across the entire Atlantic Ocean, which in turn would make tropical storms (low pressure areas) harder to form.

VIEW | Extended Range Forecast of 2020 Atlantic Seasonal Hurricane Activity report from CSU

The most disturbing part of their research is showing weaker upper-level wind shear across the Caribbean, Western Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. They acknowledge this by increasing the probabilities of the coastline of the Southeast United States being impacted by a hurricane to levels well above the historical averages.

In other words, there is a well above average expectation of a hurricane impacting the United States, in particular along the Gulf Coast and Florida.

1981-2010 average seasonal averages2020 April forecast
Named storms (12)16
Named storm days (59)80
Hurricanes (6)8
Hurricane days (24)35
Major hurricanes (3)4
Major hurricane days (6)9
Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) (106)150
Net Tropical Cyclone Activity (NTC) (116%)160

Probabilities for at least one major hurricane to make landfall

Historical averagesForecast
Continental United States52% (once every other year)69%
U.S. East Coast (including Florida)31% (once every three years)45%
Gulf of Mexico30% (once every three years)44%
Caribbean Region42% (less than once every other year)58%

This is their first big look at the upcoming season, they will adjust for their main season forecast, which will be released on Thursday, June 4, 2020.


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