The latest hurricane forecast, from the original season forecasters, came out this morning. The news is not great.  According to the folks at Colorado State University this season will be a very active one. The new numbers are for 15 named storms,  8 of them becoming hurricanes, and 4 of those becoming Intense or Major (category 3 or stronger) hurricanes. You can read the report for yourself on their home page

The person responsible for this forecast is Dr. Phil Klotzbach. 

Dr. Phil Klotzbach

 Dr. Phil, as most refer to him, took over the forecasting from Dr. Bill Gray a couple of years ago. Both Klotzbach and Gray were here in Orlando last week at the National Hurricane Conference. I had the chance to sit and talk to both of them. They didn’t want to give up the numbers in the forecast last week. Dr. Phil said he “really wanted to look at some last-minute data before giving out the numbers.” I think he wanted to look at new reports on the warm waters in the Pacific to see if El Nino had weakened yet. The whole idea here is that all the global models forecast the El Nino to weaken as we approach late summer. A strong El Nino suppresses the number of Atlantic storms during hurricane season. It’s one of the main reasons last season was below normal. As the El Nino fades this year, most forecasts calls for the season to go active. 

My best guess is that the El Nino will be slow to leave. It looks strong for now. That would mean just a few storms developing early and then a very busy season from August 1st until the end of in November.  As the graph below shows, most hurricane activity does happen after August 1st. Couple the usual increase in activity and a fading El Nino and suddenly… we’ve got the potential for action! 

 

A few things to keep in mind: 

Even with the strong El Nino and the slow season last year, we still popped an early Tropical Depression on May 28th. The season was also active until November 10th when Ida finally dissipated.  That’s a pretty long season, even though we didn’t have much action. If El Nino fades, a lot of the other factors from last year are still there….and the season should pound away right through November. 

Also, an active season doesn’t mean much if we don’t get hit. I go back to 2004 vs. 2005. All the experts just scream and shout about 20o5…  but in Central Florida, we talk about 20o4. It’s all about what happens to you. If we get one storm that takes a direct hit on Central Florida, all of a sudden it’s a terrible year. If there are 25 storms and none hits us, then it went okay. Now that’s not to say we don’t feel for people in other areas that suffer when they get hit. But it’s a world of difference between watching hurricane Ike drill Texas and hiding in your closet as Charlie roars. In the end, it just takes one storm to wreck a year. 

Right now the forecast for Central Florida weather is awesome… 

JustWeather.com

FORECAST CENTER

The afternoon storm season usually starts in the last days of May, and we are less than 60 days from the start of an active hurricane season. Make your plans now… check out your insurance… make sure you can stay on your own with no power or running water for at least 3 days if the big one comes. 

I’ll see you tonight at 6 and 11 on Local 6.

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