The outlook calls for 7 named systems, out of which 3 could become hurricanes, and out of that number, maybe one may turn into a Major Hurricane (winds of over 111mph...a category 3 on the intensity scale). Compare that with an average season, and it looks like it may not be as active... but don't let that fool you. It only takes one.
For those who may have forgotten (hard to do if you lived through it), or those who are new to the area, we had a major Category 5 storm clobber deep Southern Miami-Dade county in 1992.
It was "Hurricane Andrew" killing dozens and causing Billions in damages.
If this forecast pans out, however, it could be one of the least active seasons since the middle of the last century.
So why do these experts think it may not be as active?
They say that the phenomenon known as El Niño will strengthen this summer keeping storms from forming. They also cite that waters across the Atlantic basin are not as warm as they need to be.
One of the ingredients in the recipe for hurricane formation is hot water. You need a temperature of at least 80°s, anything less and no formation occurs. Obviously the ocean will get warmer as the season progresses but it may be a slow start.
What is El Niño?
El Niño, is a warming of the equatorial waters of the Pacific Ocean. It not only impacts marine currents but atmospheric ones as well. This causes, what would otherwise be typical weather patterns around the globe, to go haywire.
What does it mean for South Florida?
For us it means strong upper level winds will be howling out of the Pacific and barreling through the Atlantic basin.
This will help to cut off the tops of any developing system. It will make conditions for organization and growth very hostile.
The CSU team also provided the chances of a major hurricane, a cat 3 or above, striking land.
- For the entire U.S. Coast its a 28% chance. Down from what is average.
- For the East Coast and Florida, a 15% chance of a cat 3 hitting. Down from the 31% average.
- The Gulf Coast is also down with 15%. Typical is a 30% chance.
The bottom line is that hurricane season starts June 1st. It will be here before you know it.
Start now and slowly build up your supplies, that way it will not be a big hit on the wallet and you can avoid the crazy lines and hysteria if and when a storm threatens.
Out of all the phenomenons that Mother Nature throws our way...earthquakes and tornadoes... a hurricane will never take you by surprise. You will see me ad nauseum, sometimes a week out, telling you its coming. You can prepare and you can survive.
The official NHC outlook will be issued in May. Keeping my fingers crossed for a quiet season.