Forecasters Predicting Below Average Hurricane Season
Dr. Phil Klotzbach is the lead tropical forecaster for Colorado State University's Tropical Meteorology Project. The CSU forecast is one of the most widely respected tropical forecasts in the world. Yesterday, April 6, 2017, Dr. Klotzbach and his team presented their annual preseason outlook for the tropics.
That forecast is a good forecast if you live along the coastline of the United States. The CSU outlook is calling for a below average season. Their projections are that the upcoming season will generate 11 named storms. A tropical system earns a moniker when its sustained winds go above 39 mph.
The preseason outlook also called for only four of those named storms to reach hurricane intensity. A storm is classified as a hurricane when its maximum sustained winds reach 74 mph. Of those four predicted hurricanes, the CSU forecast does call for two of those storms to reach major hurricane status. A storm reaches major hurricane status when its maximum sustained winds reach 111 mph.
According to Dr. Klotzbach and his team, the probability of a hurricane impacting the Gulf Coast is only 25%. In an average season, the probability of a landfalling hurricane along the Gulf Coast is closer to 33%.
Like all tropical forecasts, this is "a best guess" based on available data. However, the CSU team has been very accurate in their predictions since they have been making them. Let's hope their accuracy is spot on for the 2017 season.