Houstonians Brace Themselves for Another Round of Storms with Possible Flooding and Power Outages
Houston, TX -- (ReleaseWire) -- 04/18/2018 -- According to forecasters at Colorado State University's Tropical Meteorology Project, this year's hurricane season is likely to see more activity than usual. Released on Thursday, current projections call for 14 named storms in the Atlantic with a total of seven hurricanes, of which three are expected to be major. Major hurricanes are classified as those that reach Category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. CSU's forecast represents a slight bump in storm activity over normal, with the average year seeing 12 named storms and six hurricanes with two major hurricanes.
One factor that plays a role in the development of named storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic is the state of El Niño in the Pacific. El Niño is expected to be neutral or weak this year, leading to average or slightly above average water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean. This could encourage storm development in the Atlantic, as the warmer water temperatures associated with a strong El Niño typically cause areas of sinking air and strong wind shear in the Atlantic Basin that inhibit the development and growth of tropical cyclones.
The water temperature of the Atlantic also plays a key role in tropical storm development, with temperatures over 80 degrees often leading to increased tropical storm formation and hurricane development. Currently, water temperatures in the northernmost part of the Atlantic and in the eastern tropical regions are colder than normal, while temperatures off of the U.S.'s East Coast are above average. While water temperatures in the tropical regions of the Atlantic do typically stay above 80 degrees during hurricane season, storm formation and development could be constricted if waters in this region stay at their current below-average temperatures into the hurricane season's peak.
Despite the number of named storms and hurricanes expected to be larger than normal, this forecast cannot predict how many tropical storms and hurricanes will actually make landfall in the United States. Traditionally, there has been little correlation between the absolute number of storms and those that reach U.S. shores. Some of the most devastating major hurricanes in recent history, such as Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and Hurricane Alicia in 1983, came during hurricane seasons with little named storm activity. Conversely, active storm seasons can result in few storms that actually make landfall; for example, 2010 saw 19 tropical storms with 12 hurricanes, yet only one tropical storm and no hurricanes reached land in the United States that year.
Considering the devastation left in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma last year, and the widespread power outages, some people living on the coast are considering installing standby generators in preparation for this year's storm season.
While 2018 is expected to see higher-than-normal Atlantic storm activity, this hurricane season is still projected to be less active than 2017, which saw seven named storms make landfall including the destructive hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Atlantic hurricane season officially lasts from June until November.
You can see CSU's full report here: https://tropical.colostate.edu/media/sites/111/2018/04/2018-04.pdf
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