Hurricane Preparedness: Climate Prediction Center anticipates above-average hurricane season this year

Hurricane Preparedness

(WTNH) — Storm Team 8 reports the Climate Prediction Center Thursday morning announced La Nina weather pattern has ended. Conditions are expected to be neutral through the summer. But that is not great news for the upcoming hurricane season.

On April 8th, Phil Klotzbach and his colleagues at Colorado State University released their annual Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook.

Just like last year, they anticipate an above-average season with 17 named storms. Of those 17 named storms, eight could become hurricanes, and of those eight hurricanes, four could become major hurricanes with winds greater than 111 miles per hour.

So why another potentially active season?

“One of the big reasons why the above normal forecast is we don’t think we are going to see El Nino this summer and fall,” Klotzbach explained. “El Nino is warmer water in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. When we have an El Nino, it tends to increase winds higher up in the atmosphere, say 25,000, 30,000 feet that tear apart hurricanes.”

Without those strong upper-level winds, it can allow storms to develop and intensify.

In addition to an above-average season, Klotzbach and the CSU team mentioned an above-average probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the U.S. coastline and the Caribbean.

“In general, more active seasons see more landfalls. Obviously, there are exceptions to that rule–you can have a quiet season with one significant landfall. More notably in 1992, we only had one major hurricane, but it was a Category 5: Hurricane Andrew. Or you can have a super active season like in 2010 with 12 hurricanes and no landfalls. In 2020, 13 hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean, six of them hitting the US.”

When you think of major hurricanes, you often think of them making landfall in Florida, Louisiana, or Texas. You don’t think about one hitting New England, but it has happened! In 1938, a Category 3 hurricane later coined, the ‘Long Island Express’, made landfall over Long Island and Connecticut.

“Storms hitting Florida and storms hitting New England are typically different in terms of their characteristics. By the time storms get up into New England, they’re often starting to undergo what’s known as ‘extratropical transition’. They’re still hurricanes, but the structure is changing, the storms are getting more elongated.”

And it can happen again. That’s why it’s important to be prepared before a storm hits.

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