Analyzing the Predictions for the 2015 Hurricane Season

By Vernon Trollinger, June 4, 2015, Hurricane Prep, News

Analyzing the Predictions for the 2015 Hurricane Season

Shear luck?
Strong winds may keep the hurricanes away this summer.
Image courtesy of NOAA (http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/outlooks/figure4.gif)

On May 27, 2015, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its 2015 Hurricane Season predictionsLike other predictions already made this year, the NOAA not surprisingly is forecasting a 70% probability that this season will see below-normal activity. The NOAA forecast adds the 20% chance for near-normal season and a 10% chance for an above-normal season.

The NOAA cites the “persistence and possible strengthening of the already developed El Niño” as the main factor affecting hurricanes. While El Niños come about due to warm water in the Pacific Ocean, this warm water affects wind circulation patterns worldwide.

Tropical storms and hurricanes develop in the calm, warm waters. In the Atlantic Ocean, storm systems form off the west coast of Africa and develop as they head westward to the Caribbean. El Niños contribute to wind shearing in this area, which disrupts and dissipates the heat energy that builds storms. Currently, vertical wind shear is already strong across the region, and this is expected to persist through August into October.

2015 Hurricane Predictions

NOAA
Prediction
CSU
Prediction
WSI
Prediction
TSR
Prediction
Seasonal Average
1981-2010
Number of named storms
(winds 39 mph+)
6-11 7 9 > 11 12
Storms becoming hurricanes
(winds 74 mph+)
3-6 3 5 5 6
Major hurricanes
(Cat. 3, 4 or 5, winds 111 mph+)
0-2 1 1 2 3

Another factor hampering hurricanes continues to be below-average sea surface temperatures (SST) in the eastern tropical Atlantic off the coast of west Africa. Even if water temperatures do rise on average, it’s unlikely that storm systems would survive the effects of wind shearing.

Analyzing the Predictions for the 2015 Hurricane Season

2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook image courtesy of NOAA (http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2015/20150527-noaa-hurricane-outlook-below-normal-atlantic-hurricane-season-is-likely-this-year.html)

Still, it’s best to heed what NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D said about the below-average 1992 season: “A below-normal season doesn’t mean we’re off the hook. As we’ve seen before, below-normal seasons can still produce catastrophic impacts to communities.” The first storm of 1992 was Hurricane Andrew, a Category 5 hurricane that devastated South Florida.

NOAA will issue an updated Atlantic hurricane prediction in early August – just before the season’s historical peak. This summer, keep your family prepared through the Bounce Energy Hurricane Prep Center for the latest hurricane information. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for smartphone alerts, hurricane preparedness tips, and other important news about what’s happening in your area when a hurricane strikes.

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About 

A native of Wyomissing Hills, PA, Vernon Trollinger studied writing and film at the University of Iowa, later earning his MA in writing there as well. Following a decade of digging in CRM archaeology, he now writes about green energy technology, home energy efficiency, DIY projects, the natural gas industry, and the electrical grid.

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