Hurricane season begins June 1, but we already have a system brewing in the Atlantic Basin. By Memorial Day weekend, we may have Alberto form in the Gulf of Mexico. Whether or not an area of low pressure near Cuba develops, it will mark the second time this year a tropical entity bears watching.
On Thursday morning, the National Hurricane Center released its outlook for the 2018 hurricane season. A normal to above-normal season is forecast for the Atlantic Basin. In early April, Colorado State University released its annual predictions. One of the reasons this hurricane season may be active once again is because of La-Nina.
You may recall, 2017 was a particularly destructive year for the United States. Last year saw the 12-year major hurricane drought come to an end with three making landfall in the U.S.
Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Nate were retired from the list of names and will never be used again.
WHAT IS LA-NINA?
La-Nina and El-Nino affect weather patterns globally. They are most notable in the United States during the winter months, but also have a huge effect on tropical weather. During La-Nina, the trade winds strengthen allowing for cooler waters to upwell off the western South American coast. At the same time in the tropical Atlantic, thunderstorm activity increases and wind shear, on average, is lighter. The opposite is true for El-Nino.
Tropical systems cannot thrive in an environment with a lot of wind shear and therefore are more likely in a La-Nina summer. Currently, we are under the influence of a weak La-Nina, but indications are we can transition into a neutral phase in between the two, or even a weak El-Nino