DISCUSSION: The Climate Prediction Center from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released its annual Atlantic hurricane season outlook. The outlook indicates that a near-normal or above-normal hurricane season is most likely to occur for 2017.
An average season produces 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes. Major hurricanes are classified as category 3, 4, or 5, with wind speeds of 111 mph or more. This year NOAA has forecasted at least a 70 percent probability of 11 to 17 named storms, 5 to 9 total hurricanes and 2 to 4 major hurricanes.
August through November are the peak months for hurricane activity, and NOAA has offered reasoning behind their outlook. The Main Development Region (MDR) for Atlantic hurricanes, which is the tropical North Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, may have near-average or above-average sea-surface temperatures as well as near-average or weaker-than-average vertical wind shear (change in wind speed and/or direction with height). Warm water fuels tropical storms, and low wind shear allows them to draw in more moisture and retain their circular shape. In addition, neutral or weak El Niño conditions are expected over the tropical Pacific Ocean.
Although we are not in hurricane season just yet, we have already had Tropical Storm Arlene, which occurred in April 2017.
For more in-depth information on NOAA’s 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook, click here!
To learn more about other high-impact tropical cyclone-based weather events from around the world, be sure to click here!
©2017 Meteorologist Nicholas Quaglieri