The Colorado State University team of Dr. William Gray and Phillip Klotzbach released their annual forecast Thursday, saying that the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season will likely have much less activity than the 30 year average. That's the lowest tropical season forecast ever issued by the hurricane forecasters, predicting just seven named storms to form in the Atlantic basin in 2015.
Here is a summary of the forecast's precitions:
- 7 named storms
- 3 hurricanes
- 1 major hurricane (category 3 or above)
Those numbers are below the 30 year average. Between 1981-2015, the Atlantic saw an average number of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes.
As we recall, 2014 was one of the quietest hurricane seasons on record and the ninth straight season without a major storm hitting Florida. Six storms became hurricanes out of eight storms named in 2014.
Why the lack of major storms? A light to moderate El Niño is forecast which results in relatively cool tropical Atlantic waters and hurricanes rely on warm ocean water for fuel. Also during an El Niño, vertical wind shear increases, which can inhibit hurricane formation.
Colorado State's forecasters, however, said the expected oncoming El Niño does not seem to have any impact on storms that form in the Gulf of Mexico, where water temperatures are warmer than the Atlantic's main development region.
The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1 and lasts through Nov. 30.
No matter what the prediction is for this upcoming season, remember that it only takes one storms to make it a bad season.
Jill Gilardi Fox 6 Meteorologist