It's no surprise that this season is expected to be just as busy as the last three. 2010, 2011, & 2012 each had 19 named storms and the forecast for this season from Drs Phil Klotzbach and William Gray of Colorado State University calls for 18 storms. All the other seasonal forecasting groups, including NOAA, call for a very active season as well. What NONE of these forecasts can tell us is where a storm will form or where it will go. Anyone who says they know what area of a coastline is more favorable before the season starts is guessing. They are wrong more than they are right. As I always say, whether we have five or 25 named storms, it only takes a hit by one to make it a bad season. It's so important to be prepared every year. With that said, here are three factors that may influence the upcoming season:
1) Water temperatures in the area between Africa and the Caribbean sea, known as the Main Development Region (MDR), are already above normal and are expected to stay that way through the season. Warmer water provides more fuel for storms and hurricanes.
2) No El Nino is expected this year. When an El Nino is present, wind shear has a tendency to increase and shred storm systems apart or prevent development all together.
3) We are in an active period of hurricane activity that began in 1995, thanks to a natural decades-long cycle in hurricane activity called the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO). This period lasts roughly 20-25 years.
During the month of June, history suggests that the Gulf of Mexico is the most likely area for development and that's where we find the only game in town. What's left of Pacific Hurricane Barbara is merely a disturbance located in the Bay of Campeche in the southern Gulf of Mexico. Its a tiny system and any development will be very slow thanks to high wind shear. As of 8am Saturday, the National Hurricane Center only gives the system a 10% chance of developing into a tropical system over the next two days.
The long range models have been consistently calling for a weak tropical system to develop somewhere between the Yucatan Peninsula and Florida late next week. Just because there is model consistency doesn ' t mean it will actually develop. We'll keep you updated.
For more updates throughout the hurricane season visit our Hurricane Central page.