New hurricane season forecast raises chance of US landfall

©Sun Sentinel

The Bogue Inlet Fishing Pier in Emerald Isle, N.C., is pounded with waves as Hurricane Dorian churns up the ocean before its arrival on September 5, 2019. - Julia Wall/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A pessimistic hurricane season forecast was released Thursday, saying the odds have increased for landfall by a major hurricane in the Caribbean or United States.

Colorado State University, one of the most prominent centers for hurricane forecasting, raised the predicted number of hurricanes from eight to nine. The number of expected named storms, those of at least tropical strength, climbed from 16 to 19.

“We have slightly increased our forecast for the 2020 Atlantic basin hurricane season and believe that the season will have well above-average activity,” stated a report from the university’s Department of Atmospheric Science.

An average season sees six hurricanes. All forecasts have called for an above-average season this year, which raised the chances that hurricanes will hit land.

“We anticipate an above-normal probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the continental United States coastline and in the Caribbean,” the Colorado State forecast said.

Colorado State and other forecasters point to above average temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean, which provides the fuel for hurricanes. And they note they absence of El Nino, the warming of the Pacific Ocean that can cause the high altitude crosswinds that prevent hurricane formation.

The Colorado State forecast left unchanged its prediction of four major hurricanes, which means those with wind speeds of at least 111 mph.

The season, which officially began Monday, has already been extraordinarily active. Two tropical storms formed before the official start date, and a third formed the day after the season began.

———

©2020 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)