1. Hurricane

Latest storm forecast holds steady: six hurricanes, two big ones.

Colorado State University’s latest hurricane forecast doesn’t deviate from its earlier predictions. Scientists still foresee an average storm season.
This NASA photo shows they eye of Hurricane Michael as seen from the International Space Station as it made landfill on Oct. 10, 2018. (NASA via AP)
Published Jul. 9
Updated Jul. 9

In their latest Atlantic hurricane season update, Colorado State University scientists again predict near average tropical cyclone activity this year.

Researchers are calling for 14 named storms, six of which are hurricanes, according to the forecast released Tuesday. They also predict there will be two major hurricanes, which are Category 3 or higher with wind speeds at least 111 mph.

HURRICANE SEASON IS HERE: Get ready and stay informed at

Those numbers are identical to Colorado State’s June predictions, and match almost exactly the average storm numbers observed between 1981 and 2010. The average over that period was 12.1 named storms, 6.4 hurricanes and 2.7 major hurricanes.

The reason this forecast didn’t change from the one issued last month is because two opposing variables that impact hurricane season weakened. On the one hand, the chances went down for an El Niño, which is warmer-than-normal water in the tropical Pacific Ocean that creates storm-sheering winds across the Atlantic Ocean.

The lack of an El Niño makes it easier for storms to organize and grow. On the other hand, Atlantic water temperatures have dropped. Since hurricanes feed off warm water, cooler temperatures means less energy for storms.


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Forecasters are already watching a low-pressure system that moved south over Georgia into the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. It could develop into a tropical system now that it has reached the warm Gulf waters. If it reaches tropical storm status, it would be called Barry, the second named storm of the year.

Officially, the season began June 1 and runs through Nov. 30. But the first named storm arrived of the 2019 season arrived a bit early on May 20, when short-lived Subtropical Storm Andrea developed south of Bermuda. It dissipated soon thereafter.

Since the season is expected to be close to average, the likelihood that a major hurricane will make landfall is also close to average, researchers wrote.

After experiencing an unprecedented 11-year hurricane drought, Florida has been hit by hurricanes three years in a row: Hermine hit in the Big Bend area in 2016, Irma hit the Keys and then Marco Island in 2017 and Michael hit the Panhandle in 2018.

Whether forecasters predict an average storm season, it only takes one to inflict catastrophic damage. Hurricane Irma reached Category 4 strength and after Michael was later upgraded to Category 5 status. Michael is now considered one of the strongest storms on record to make landfall in the continental U.S.

Contact Josh Solomon at or (813) 909-4613. Follow @ByJoshSolomon.


HURRICANE SEASON IS HERE: Get ready and stay informed at

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  1. Atlantic tropical cyclones and disturbances, as of 5 a.m. Thursday. National Hurricane Center
    The system should stay well east of the United States, according to forecasters.
  2. Tropical Storm Jerry is expected to become reach hurricane status on Friday. National Hurricane Center
    Forecasters expect the storm to reach hurricane status on Friday.
  3. This satellite image shows Hurricane Michael on Oct. 9, 2018, as it enters the Gulf of Mexico. It made landfall near Mexico Beach in the Panhandle as a Category 5 storm. [Photo courtesy of NOAA] NOAA
    Nearly a year after the storm, 18,000 claims are still open.
  4. The tropical outlook on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2019. National Hurricane Center
    The depression is expected to become Tropical Storm Jerry by early Wednesday, then strengthen to a hurricane by the weekend.
  5. Hurricane Humberto's projected path as of 5 a.m. Tuesday, according to the National Hurricane Center. National Hurricane Center
    It could become a major hurricane by Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.
  6. The forecast track for Hurricane Humberto, as of 5 a.m. Monday. National Hurricane Center
    The Category 1 hurricane is moving away from the southeastern United States and expected to approach Bermuda by Wednesday night.
  7. Mos Antenor, 42, drives a bulldozer while clearing the road after Hurricane Dorian Mclean's Town, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Friday Sept. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa) RAMON ESPINOSA  |  AP
    Threatening to exacerbate islands’ problems, Humberto’s rains were falling on Abaco island.
  8. Members of the fire rescue team Task Force 8, from Gainesville, Florida, help remove a body one week after Hurricane Dorian hit The Mudd neighborhood in the Marsh Harbor area of Abaco Island, Bahamas, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. Dorian, the most powerful hurricane in the northwestern Bahamas' recorded history, has killed at least 44 people in Bahamas as of Sunday, Sept. 8, according to the government. GONZALO GAUDENZI  |  AP
    Many in the northwestern Bahamas, known for its casinos, golf courses and mega yachts, worry they will be forced into deep poverty.
  9. The tropical outlook on Saturday Sept. 14, 2019. National Hurricane Center
    A north-northwest turn is expected by Sunday, just as the storm is projected to become a hurricane.
  10. The tropical outlook on Saturday Sept. 14, 2019. National Hurricane Center
    Humberto’s wind speeds reached 40 mph on Saturday as it’s expected to turn north-northwest.