Hurricane researchers at Colorado State University have revised their forecast from their early April prediction, increasing it to a near-normal season of 14 total named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes measuring category three or higher.
The team cites two major reasons for the revision.
“I think there's still a possibility of a weak El Nino event, but perhaps not as much of an impact as we thought earlier,” says Dr. Phil Klotzbach. “Also the Atlantic has warmed in an anomalous sense, so the anomalies were a little bit colder than normal in the tropical Atlantic and now they're somewhat warmer than normal.”
But he says the chance one makes landfall remains the same.
“The long-term probability there's about a 30 percent chance, or three in 10 chance, every year that the Gulf Coast gets hit by a major hurricane, and since we're forcasting a near-normal season, the probability this year is near the long-term average of 30 percent,” says Klotzbach.
Klotzbach reminds us even a weak tropical storm can have devastating effects.
“Allison in 2001, which made landfall in early June, was just a weak tropical storm in terms of its wind, but it was a very slow moving storm and dropped incredible amounts of rain in the Houston metro area, over three feet of rain in some places,” he says.