Advertisement
  1. Hurricane

Above-normal hurricane season now more likely with El Niño’s end, NOAA says

The agency predicts five to nine hurricanes this season, two to four of them at the level of Category 3 or higher.
A tent city sprouted up in the parking lot of Forest Park United Methodist Church in Panama City in December following Hurricane Michael. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]
A tent city sprouted up in the parking lot of Forest Park United Methodist Church in Panama City in December following Hurricane Michael. [MONICA HERNDON | Times]
Published Aug. 8
Updated Aug. 9

There’s an increased likelihood that this year’s Atlantic hurricane season will be above-normal now that the irregular weather pattern known as El Niño has faded, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday.

Scientists now predict 10 to 17 named storms throughout the season, which runs June through November. Five to nine of them could become hurricanes, including two to four major hurricanes Category 3 or higher with winds of 111 mph or greater.

HURRICANE SEASON IS HERE: Get ready and stay informed at tampabay.com/hurricane

Two named storms already have formed this season. One became Hurricane Barry, a Category 1 hurricane that hit Louisiana in July. Historically, 95 percent of all Atlantic hurricanes form from August through October.

In May, forecasters predicted a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season. They expected El Niño, a hurricane suppressant that creates wind shear over the tropical Atlantic Ocean, to cancel out conditions that have led to stronger hurricane activity since 1995.

Those conditions include a stronger West African monsoon, weaker wind shear across the tropical Atlantic Ocean, and wind patterns coming off the coast of Africa that can spin up storms, said Gerry Bell, NOAA’s lead hurricane season forecaster.

But El Niño has dissipated. El Niño-related wind patterns may still continue and partially offset conditions that fuel hurricanes, Bell said, but not to the extent predicted in May.

The government’s forecast is slightly higher than that of Colorado State University, which also issues hurricane season forecasts.

The university’s August outlook continued to predict an average season, with 12 named storms, seven hurricanes and two major hurricanes. Colorado State’s forecast still falls within the government’s predicted ranges.

COLORADO STATE’S LATEST FORECAST: Seven hurricanes, two major storms.

As peak hurricane season begins, Bell urged coastal residents to visit Ready.gov for tips.

“Everyone should know the risk, have a plan and be prepared,” he said.


2019 Tampa Bay Times Hurricane Guide

HURRICANE SEASON IS HERE: Get ready and stay informed at tampabay.com/hurricane

PREPARE YOUR STUFF: Get your documents and your data ready for a storm

BUILD YOUR KIT: The stuff you’ll need to stay safe — and comfortable — for the storm

PROTECT YOUR PETS: Your pets can’t get ready for a storm. That’s your job

NEED TO KNOW: Click here to find your evacuation zone and shelter


What Michael taught the Panhandle and Tampa Bay

What the Panhandle’s top emergency officials learned from Michael

‘We’re not going to give up.’ What a school superintendent learned from Michael.

What Tampa Bay school leaders fear most from a storm

Tampa Bay’s top cops fear for those who stay behind

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Hurricane Dorian left homes in ruin in the Bahamas. [FERNANDO LLANO  |  AP]
    The season’s strongest storm, Hurricane Dorian, had Florida in sight but turned north before making landfall. The storm decimated the Bahamas.
  2. The latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center shows the storm moving toward the northeast out to sea. [National Hurricane Center]
    An early morning advisory shows the storm turning toward the northeast.
  3. Tropical storm Sebastien has developed in the Atlantic and now has an 80 percent chance of turning into a tropical cyclone. [National Hurricane Center] [National Hurricane Center]
    Forecasters with the National Weather Service do not expect the storm to threaten land.
  4. Forecasters with the National Weather Service estimate that the system has a 50-percent chance of developing into a tropical or sub-tropical depression during the next 48 hours. [National Weather Service]
    Forecasters with the National Weather Service expect the system to develop into a depression by mid-week.
  5. Mos Antenor, 42, drives a bulldozer while clearing the road after Hurricane Dorian Mclean's Town, Grand Bahama, Bahamas on Sept. 13. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa) [RAMON ESPINOSA  |  AP]
    The damage estimate comes from a new report by the Inter-American Development Bank.
  6. The projected path of Tropical Storm Olga [National Hurricane Center]
    The storm is expected to merge with a cold front and become post-tropical before impacting Louisiana late tonight.
  7. The low-pressure system in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico has a 60-percent chance of development over the next two to five days. [National Hurricane Center]
    Most models don’t project the system to become anything stronger than a tropical depression. And a short-lived one, at that.
  8. The projected path of Nestor [National Hurricane Center]
    Nestor is expected to dump two to four inches of rain in Tampa Bay, along with the threat of tornadoes.
  9. The projected path for Tropical Storm Nestor, according to the National Hurricane Center. [National Hurricane Center]
    Tampa Bay should expect wind and rain tonight into Saturday morning, according to the National Weather Service
  10. The sun sets over a slab which once served as a foundation for a home on Mexico Beach in May. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Area leaders fear lower population numbers will lead to reduced federal funding and political representation.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement