The Most Active Atlantic Hurricane Season in Four Years Likely

4 06 2016

Dale C. S. Destin |

After a hat-trick of quiet Atlantic hurricane seasons, the latest round of forecasts is pointing to the most active season since 2012. However, notwithstanding the projected increase in activity over recent years, the forecast is for the 2016 hurricane season to be near normal.

Ensemble forecast

Our ensemble (mean) forecast calls for 14 named storms with 7 becoming hurricanes and 4 reaching major hurricane status. This represents an increase over the previous forecast for the season of one named storm and one hurricane.

MayJuneHurricaneSeasonForecast

In the tropical cyclone community, the accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) is the indicator used to determine the activity of a hurricane season. The ACE index is a measurement of the strength and duration of a named storm. Summing together the ACE of each named storm, provides a more comprehensive picture of the activity of the season, aside from just the number of storms.

This year, our ensemble forecast calls for an ACE index of 109, which is near normal. If this forecast pans out, the 2016 season would be around 200%, 63% and 73% more active than 2013, 2014 and 2015 respectively.

The ensemble (mean) forecast is based on predictions from Klotzbach of Colorado State University, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Saunders and Lea of Tropical Storm Risk.com (TSR), the Integrated Forecast System (IFS) of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), UK Met Office, the Hurricane Genesis & Outlook (HUGO) Project of Coastal Carolina University and the Institute for Meteorology (INSMET) of Cuba.

Uncertainty

It must be noted though that the skill in forecasting the hurricane season (June to November) in May/June is moderate. However, it is the best available on earth, and it continues to improve.

Apart from the inherent limits to our skill in forecasting the season, this year, there is the huge uncertainty of the eventual strength of La Nina (the coolness of the tropical Pacific Ocean). A strong La Nina could result in a more active season than is forecast, with the converse being true.

Probability of Antigua and Barbuda being hit

According to Klotzbach, the likely best similar years to this hurricane season are 1973, 1978, 1983, 1992 and 2003. Of these years, we were only hit by Tropical Storm Christine of 1973. Thus, based ONLY on similar years, the probability of Antigua being hit this year by one or more named storms is around 18%, while the probability of one or more hurricanes is 0%.

In general, the probability of Antigua being hit by one or more named storms annually appears to vary according to the phase of the Atlantic. During the quiet phase of 1962 to 1994, the probability of one or more named storms was around 26%, while the probability of one or more hurricanes was around 14%. Meanwhile, for the active phase of 1995 to present, which may have come to an end, the probability of one or more named storms increased to around 55%, while the probability of one or more hurricanes is around 35%.

Overall, based on the climatological period of 1981-2010, the probability of being hit by one or more named storms is around 49% (every 2 years on average), while the probability of one or more hurricanes is around 31% (every 3 years on average). Barbuda has similar numbers.

Become hurricane strong

Notwithstanding the forecast, it only takes one hurricane to change your life and community, so the same comprehensive preparations are required every year. Become hurricane strong by taking actions today to become hurricane resilient. This includes:

  • Determining your risk from tropical cyclones;
  • Developing an evacuation plan;
  • Securing an insurance check-up;
  • Assembling disaster supplies;
  • Strengthening your home;
  • Identifying trusted sources of information for a hurricane event and
  • Having your written hurricane plan.

Recall – an ounce of prevention is better than pound of cure!

We will publish an undated ensemble forecast by early August, just before the traditional peak of the hurricane season. This forecast is generally the most skilful; it will have much reduced uncertainty.

2016 Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Names

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The Atlantic Hurricane Season Consensus Forecast – Aug 14, 2013

14 08 2013

| Dale C. S. Destin

The general consensus among tropical cyclone experts continues to be for an above normal Atlantic Hurricane Season for 2013. The consensus forecast calls for 17 named storms, 8 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes. A normal season averages of 12.1 named storms, 6.4 hurricanes and 2.7 major hurricanes (See table 1).  Much of the science behind the outlook is rooted in the analysis and prediction of current and future global climate patterns as compared to previous seasons with similar conditions. For this season, the experts are citing a warmer than normal Tropical North Atlantic as the main reason for an above normal season prediction.

Hurricane Season Outlook

What does this mean for Antigua and Barbuda?

 Although there have been great advancements in the science of tropical cyclone (depression, tropical storm and hurricane), the science has not yet reached the stage where accurate predictions can be made of how many cyclones will form in a given year. Also, the science cannot accurately predict when and where these systems will move or make landfall months in advance. The details of the large-scale weather patterns that direct the path of these cyclones cannot be predicted more than a few days into the future. However, for the current active era (1995 – present), there is around a 32% chance or 3 in 10 chances of one or more hurricanes affecting Antigua (directly or indirectly) over the period August – October; this is 4% above the long term chance (1981 – 2010).

The 2013 Hurricane Season

The 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season, thus far, have produced four (4) named storms. The strongest tropical cyclone for the season has been Tropical Storm Andrea with peak winds of 65 mph and minimum pressure of 992 mb. There has been no hurricane, thus far. Relative to Antigua and Barbuda, Chantal, during it passage through the Eastern Caribbean, spawned a destructive water spout, which impacted Camp Blizzard, Antigua. The hurricane season officially runs from June 1 through November 30 each year; however, tropical cyclones can and have occurred outside the season. The peak of the hurricane season is mid August to late October while the peak of the hurricane season for Antigua is mid August to late September (graph 1).

It Only Takes One

Regardless of the numbers, we should always approach the hurricane season in the same manner each year: be aware and be prepared. The prevention of the loss of life and property from tropical cyclones is a responsibility that should be shared by all. As a reminder, recall our lesson from Hurricane George of 1998: it only takes one hurricane to make it a bad season. Accordingly, the Meteorological Service will play its usual role in alerting the public of any tropical cyclone that may form and threaten Antigua and Barbuda, the Leeward Islands and the British Virgin Islands. We endeavour to provide weather and climate information for the protect life, property, livelihood and the enhancement of the economy – be prepared!

AnuStorms

Graph 1: Antiguan Tropical Cyclones – distribution of tropical cyclones within 120 statute miles of Antiguan (1851 – 2012)

For more information see the links below or email me at dale_destin@yahoo.com. You are also welcome to follow us via twitter facebook youtube and blog .

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References

Accuweather.com, State College, Atlantic Hurricane Season: Three US Landfalls Predicted [online]
<http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/atlantic-hurricane-forecast-2013/12116274>
[Accessed 3 June, 2013]

Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Forecast of Atlantic Seasonal Hurricane Activity and Landfall Strike Probability for 2013 [online].
<http://typhoon.atmos.colostate.edu/Forecasts/2013/aug2013/aug2013.pdf>
[Accessed 12 August, 2013]

Florida State University, Raleigh, FSU COAP Atlantic Hurricane Season Forecast [online]. Available from:
<http://coaps.fsu.edu/hurricanes>
[Accessed 3 June, 2013]

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Silver Spring, NOAA: Atlantic hurricane season on track to be above-normal [online]. Available from: <http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2013/20130808_atlantichurricaneupdate.html>
[Accessed 12 Aug, 2013]

North Carolina State University, Raleigh, 2013 Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Outlook [online]. Available from: <http://cfdl.meas.ncsu.edu/research/TCoutlook_2013.html>%5BAccessed 28 May, 2013]

Tropical Storm Risk, London, August Forecast Update for Atlantic and U.S. Hurricane Activity in 2013 [online]. Available from: <http://www.tropicalstormrisk.com/docs/TSRATLForecastAug2013.pdf>
[Accessed 12 Aug, 2013]

United Kingdom Met Office, Exeter, Seasonal Forecasting of Storms [online]. Available from:
< http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/tropicalcyclone/seasonal/forecasting-method&gt;
[Accessed 3 June, 2013]








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