Record warm ocean temperatures cause jump in predicted hurricanes

Dr. Phil Klotzbach and his team at Colorado State University have just revised their hurricane season outlook and adjusted the numbers upward. Their pre-season prediction of 13 storms was raised to 15 in June and on Thursday morning the predicted number of named storms was raised to 18.

This number includes four systems that have already formed: Arlene, Bret, Cindy, and an unnamed storm along the East Coast that formed in January. This leaves the remaining 14 anticipated tropical storms.

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Due to record warm water temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean that are more than 6 °F warmer than average, the number of expected hurricanes was raised from 6 to 9 and major hurricanes were raised from 2 to 4.

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This is a dramatic revision in their outlook and is based not only on the extreme warmth in the Atlantic but also on the uncertain strength of El Niño in the Pacific (which usually limits hurricane formation) and some uncertainty also is based on the variability of Saharan dust.

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Regardless of the total number of storms, we have to stay prepared on the Gulf Coast the same way each season.


Some years produce many hurricanes with none hitting Texas, while other years such as 1983 have very few systems, but just one, Alicia, hit Houston as a category 3 hurricane.