BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Apr. 9, 2015–In the last 5 years, the Atlantic Basin has generated 79 named storms, 37 hurricanes and 13 major hurricanes over the course of the hurricane season, which spans June to November each year. That works out to an average of 16 named storms, 7 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes each year. This year, though, forecasters Philip J. Klotzbach and William M. Gray of the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University are predicting a much quieter season. Their April 9, 2015 forecast, issued earlier today, calls for a total of only 7 named storms, 3 hurricanes and 1 major hurricane.
“We anticipate that the 2015 Atlantic basin hurricane season will be one of the least active seasons since the middle of the 20th century,” the researchers say.
“It appears quite likely that an El Niño of at least moderate strength will develop this summer and fall. The tropical and subtropical Atlantic are also quite cool at present. We anticipate a below-average probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the United States coastline and in the Caribbean,” they added.
Today’s forecast also indicated that there is only a 22% chance that that a major hurricane (category 3, 4 or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale), which is likely to be formed in the Atlantic this year, will strike in the Caribbean, while the probability of it striking somewhere along the US coastline is 28%.
The team warns, however, that, “Despite the forecast for below-average activity, coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them. They should prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted.”
The most active year in the recent past was 2010 – when the Atlantic generated 19 storms and 12 hurricanes, 5 of them being major hurricanes. Last year, there were only 8 named storms, but 6 of those were of hurricane strength, with 2 of them being major hurricanes.