Following the most deadly hurricane season for the Atlantic in more than a decade, the 2017 season is predicted to be slightly less active than 2016.
According to Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project, a “weak to moderate” El Niño is expected to limit tropical storm development over the Atlantic basin for the 2017 hurricane season.
The university project predicts a total of 11 named storms for this year’s hurricane season, which officially runs June 1 through Nov. 30.
Only four of these storms are predicted to be hurricanes; two of these are predicted to be major hurricanes — reaching Category 3 to 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale.
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According to the project, there is a 24 percent chance a major hurricane will make landfall on the East Coast.
Accuweather has similar predictions for this year’s hurricane season.
Their predictions include a total of 10 named storms over the Atlantic this season; half of these storms are predicted to become hurricanes, and three of the five hurricanes are predicted to become major hurricanes. Accuweather predicts two to four of these hurricanes will make landfall in the U.S.
NOAA has not yet released its 2017 Atlantic hurricane predictions. The forecast is expected to be released before the end of the month.
Accuweather explains that the “strong westerly winds” of El Niño tend to “inhibit the development of storms” over the Atlantic.
The National Weather Service predicts “El Niño development by late summer and fall.” According to Accuweather, El Niño would continue through the end of hurricane season.
Another strong El Niño hurricane season, 2015, had a below-average Atlantic hurricane season.
The 2015 season recorded 11 tropical storms, four hurricanes and two major hurricanes.
By comparison, the 2016 season included 15 named tropical storms, seven of which developed into hurricanes.
Hurricane Matthew became the first Category 5 hurricane since 2007.
Despite weakening to a Category 2 before making landfall in South Carolina, it wreaked havoc across the East Coast.
This week marks national Hurricane Preparedness Week, and while the hurricane season doesn’t officially kick off for a few more weeks, there already has been some tropical storm activity this spring.
Tropical Storm Arlene developed over the Atlantic last month, marking the first named storm of the year.
A weather disturbance was spotted in the eastern North Pacific on Sunday, and NOAA reports there’s a 70 percent chance a tropical depression will form near Costa Rica by Thursday.
The National Weather Service reminds coastal residents to form a plan for this year’s hurricane season. This plan should include:
- Determining your risk and potential impacts of a hurricane where you live.
- Completing an insurance check-up.
- Assembling disaster supplies.
- Developing an evacuation plan.
- Preparing your home.
- Discussing plans with your neighbors.