ROANOKE, Va. – In previous weeks, we have seen forecasts from experts at Colorado State University and North Carolina State University. Thursday morning, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its outlook for the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season.
They are forecasting a near-average season, number-wise.
The reason for this forecast has a lot to do with some limiting factors, including cooler than average waters in the Northern Atlantic and warmer than average waters in the equatorial Pacific (referred to as El Niño).
El Niño typically leads to a more active storm track across the southern U.S., which increases wind shear (wind changes with height) in the atmosphere. More wind shear tends to weaken tropical systems.
At the same time, ocean waters in the Tropical Atlantic and Caribbean are warmer than average.
As we learned last year, however, all it takes is one storm to make it your active season. Typically, the threats we see this far inland are flooding and mudslides, along with tornadoes on the outer edges of any tropical system. The wind field tends to weaken, once storms move this far inland.
So far in 2019, we already saw one storm develop. Andrea formed in mid-May, but weakened very quickly without impacting land.
Hurricane season in the Atlantic runs from June 1 to November 30.