Why a leading forecast doubled the number of hurricanes predicted this season

A leading hurricane researcher has doubled the number of tropical cyclones forecast for this season, while  another calls the early mustering of storms in the Atlantic a “foreboding” sign.

Colorado State University hurricane expert Phil Klotzbach said the abandonment of the climate pattern El Nino was the main impetus for an updated forecast calling for an above average storm season.

Read more of the story here and why this could be a “nasty season.” 

Tropical Storm Don satellite image taken Tuesday morning.

But the premature birth of disturbances in the main development region of the Atlantic, and now Tropical Storm Don, has also been a past indicator of a busy storm season.

“It is unusual to have frequent disturbances in the main development reason in June and July, since ocean temperatures in that region still do not support development in most years,” said Todd Crawford, chief meteorologist for The Weather Company.

Check The Palm Beach Post storm tracking map. 

Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project is now forecasting an above average hurricane season for 2017.

The sea-surface temperatures, however, are unusually warm in the area of the tropics where storms typically don’t start appearing until August through October.

“All other things being equal, this is foreboding as we head into the heart of the season, and we do expect a relatively active season this year given the warm ocean waters,” Crawford said.

The typical areas for tropical cyclones to form in July.

Klotzbach’s updated hurricane forecast now calls for a total of 15 named storms, eight hurricanes and three major hurricanes. These numbers include the three tropical storms that formed prior to Don on Monday.

The average storm season has 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes.

Download the Palm Beach Post WeatherPlus app here.

“Often, our July update doesn’t change, but this year we did up it because it is just looking more conducive for activity,” Klotzbach said. “Having a lot of these kinds of systems coming off and looking decent, that tends to be a sign for a nasty season.”

But there are always caveats, Klotzbach said. The 2013 season was forecast to be above average and it ended with only two hurricanes.

“The Atlantic is always on the edge of getting a lot, or getting a little,” Klotzbach said.

The typical formation area for tropical cyclones in August. This season, more disturbances and invests have been identified in this area in July.

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

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Author: Kimberly Miller

Kimberly grew up outside Washington D.C. She graduated from the University of Arizona in 1995. Her beats have included K-12 education, universities and colleges, real estate, and general assignment.

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