US: El Niño may lessen number of Atlantic hurricanes this season - PressFrom - US
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USEl Niño may lessen number of Atlantic hurricanes this season

08:10  16 may  2019
08:10  16 may  2019 Source:   usatoday.com

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The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season was the third in a consecutive series of above-average and damaging Atlantic hurricane seasons , featuring 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes

When El Niño is in place during hurricane season , stronger-than-average upper-level winds typically develop over portions of the Atlantic Ocean. This can lead to a reduction in the number of tropical cyclones in the Atlantic Basin, but wind shear is just one of many factors that contribute to tropical

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Phil Klotzbach, a Colorado State University meteorologist who specializes in hurricane forecasting, is watching closely.

"El Niño is the big, big question. There's a westerly wind event right now in the tropical Pacific. And to me, a lot hinges on how the ocean responds to that event," Klotzbach said Wednesday, minutes after delivering a presentation during the Governor's Hurricane Conference.

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The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season was a hyperactive and catastrophic hurricane season that, with a damage total of at least 2.28 billion (USD), was the costliest tropical cyclone season on record.

While this year’s Atlantic hurricane season started early with Alberto, El Niño may keep the number of named storms near to below normal. Due to the anticipated onset of El Niño , AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski stated that a much less active season can unfold.

In early April, the Tropical Meteorology Project at CSU's Department of Atmospheric Sciences predicted 13 named storms and five hurricanes, two of which would strengthen into major hurricanes. That's a slightly less active season than typically seen from 1981-2010.

The forecasters will update those numbers June 4, three days after the Atlantic hurricane season kicks off.

“Hurricanes don’t like shear. So when you have lots of shear, it’s detrimental to hurricanes – (and) good for those in their path," Klotzbach told the audience at the Palm Beach County Convention Center.

"In an El Niño event, you get very strong upper-level westerly winds. You get a whole lot more shear. Hurricanes tend to be much weaker," Klotzbach said.

In its April forecast, the CSU researchers pegged these odds of at least one Category 3, 4 or 5 making landfall this upcoming season in these locations:

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The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season is an upcoming event in the annual formation of tropical cyclones in the Northern Hemisphere. The season will officially begin on June 1, 2019

The Atlantic hurricane season is the period in a year when hurricanes usually form in the Atlantic Ocean. Tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic are called hurricanes , tropical storms

  • Entire U.S. coastline: 48%.
  • U.S. East Coast, including the Florida peninsula: 28%.
  • Gulf Coast, from the Florida Panhandle westward to Brownsville, Texas: 28%.
  • Caribbean: 39%.

NOAA will announce its initial outlook for the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season during a May 23 news conference in Washington, D.C.

El Niño may lessen number of Atlantic hurricanes this season© RICK NEALE/FLORIDA TODAY Phil Klotzbach, a Colorado State University meteorologist.

Klotzbach cautioned that the number of hurricanes swirling to life in any given year is not necessarily an indicator of potential residential and commercial property damages.

“You can have a very active season like 2010, where there were 12 hurricanes in the Atlantic. It was gangbusters. Nobody remembers 2010 except for a few of us hurricane geeks – because nothing hit the U.S.," Klotzbach said.

"Alternatively, you can have a year like 1992, one of (my mentor) Bill Gray’s best forecasts. He predicted one major hurricane in 1992," he said.

"There was only one major hurricane. It happened to be Hurricane Andrew, which obviously was devastating to southern Miami-Dade County."

Follow Rick Neale on Twitter: @RickNeale1

This article originally appeared on Florida Today: El Niño may lessen number of Atlantic hurricanes this season

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