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Texas Emergency Management ONLINE 2015 Vol. 62 No. 7

Below Normal Hurricane Season Forecast for 2015

On May 27th, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center released their prediction for the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season. Hurricane season runs from June 1st through November 30th with the most active part of the season occurring between August through October.  For more information on hurricanes and specifically hurricane climatology visit this website from the National Hurricane Center.

Hurricane Forecasts By the Numbers

Hurrican outlook

According to the National Hurricane Center on average, each Atlantic hurricane season sees 12 named storms (tropical storm or hurricane), about 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes (Category 3 or greater). The forecast for the 2015 season can be seen below:

This is the May outlook from the Climate Prediction Center. They will update this outlook mid-season in August. While this is the official NOAA Forecast there are several other universities and other meteorological entities that produce forecasts. A few of those are listed below along with the average, record high, and record low values:

Organization Named Storms Hurricanes Major Hurricanes
NOAA 6 – 11 3 – 6 0 - 2
Colorado State University 7 3 1
North Carolina State University 6 3 1
UK Met Office 8 5 No Forecast
Average (1981-2010) 12.1 6.4 2.7
Record High 28 (2005) 15 (2005) 7 (2005)
Record Low 4 (1983) 2 (2013) 0 (2013)

Reasons for the Below Normal Season
The main culprit for the below normal Atlantic Hurricane Season is El Niño. To find out more about El Niño see this previous TEMO article. El Niño, which has already brought us a very wet spring across Texas, is forecast to continue and possibly intensify through the Summer and into the Fall. Hurricanes like very warm water, with little wind shear, and rising motion. During El Niño the pattern across the Atlantic is one with increased wind shear, and more sinking motion. Sea surface temperatures are also forecast to be near normal this summer, resulting in minimal impact to the overall seasonal activity.

It Only Takes One!
The important thing to remember as meteorologists, emergency managers, and the public is that although a below average season is forecast, this is a forecast of total tropical cyclone activity, NOT a landfall forecast. We have already seen a tropical storm (Ana) make landfall this year in South Carolina. It only takes one storm to cause devastation during hurricane season. One notable example of this is 1992. Only 7 named storms formed that year, very similar to what is being forecast this year. Despite the below average season, the A named storm was a Category 5 major hurricane and made landfall in the United States, devastating South Florida. That storm’s name was Andrew.

For more information on the NOAA 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook check out:

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