27 May 2015

NOAA Issues 2015 Hurricane Season Forecast

Posted by Dan Satterfield


Outlook_2015_FINALYou cannot learn to forecast something if you do not try, and testing predictions is what science is all about, so with that in mind, here is the hurricane forecast from NOAA for 2015. There is not a lot of skill in these forecasts, but this year we have some help. A growing El Nino (that looks like it may be a strong one) is the major factor in the lower than average forecast. Keep in mind though that it only takes one land-falling storm to create havoc, and a perfect example of that is Hurricane Andrew that devastated South Florida in August of 1992. Andrew was the only storm in 1992 to make landfall in a very quiet season.

El Nino events are strongly correlated with lower than average tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic Basin, but there are other factors as well, and the fact that the oceans globally are very warm (warmest on record in April) means that any storms that do develop, will have a lot of energy available to produce wind and flooding rains. The image below shows that much of the Gulf and Western Atlantic has sea surface temps. that are way above average for the beginning of hurricane season, so the take home fact is this: We may see fewer storms, but the cyclones that do develop in the western Atlantic, could be very strong, and very wet.