Few things are certain in our skies. But Thursday, Gerry Bell, lead forecaster from NOAA, says he is very confident in this year’s seasonal hurricane outlook.
Bell said, “The likelihood for a below normal season has jumped from 70% in May to 90% with today’s updated outlook.”
This is the highest level of confidence NOAA has ever had for a seasonal forecast since they started publishing them in 1998.
The updated forecast numbers include 6 to 10 named storms, 1 to 4 hurricanes, and zero to one major hurricanes. These numbers already reflect the three named tropical storms that formed early in the season.
The number one contributing factor to a likely quiet season is the strengthening El Niño, which Bell says is already playing a role.
“El Niño is already affecting wind and rainfall patterns throughout the entire global tropics," Bell said.
Bell also reminds us that tropical storms and hurricanes can and do strike the United States, even in below-normal seasons and during El Niño events. The traditional peak of the Atlantic Hurricane Season is still a month away.