Today marks the official start of the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season which will continue through November. Just last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) published their outlook for the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season. NOAA predicts that the 2018 Atlantic basin hurricane season will be near-normal.
Forecasters predict a 40% chance of a near-normal season, a 30% chance of an above-normal season and a 30% chance of a below-normal season.
“With the 2019 hurricane season upon us, NOAA is leveraging cutting-edge tools to help secure Americans against the threat posed by hurricanes and tropical cyclones across both the Atlantic and Pacific,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “Throughout hurricane season, dedicated NOAA staff will remain on alert for any danger to American lives and communities.”
The 2019 outlook from NOAA reflects competing climate factors. The ongoing El Nino is expected to persist and suppress the intensity of the hurricane season. Countering El Nino is the expected combination of warmer-than-average sea-surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, and an enhanced west African monsoon, both of which favor increased hurricane activity.
For 2019, NOAA predicts a likely range of 9 to 15 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 4 to 8 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 2 to 4 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). NOAA provides these ranges with a 70% confidence. An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which 6 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes.
Below is a comparison of the NOAA and Colorado State University’s predictions along with the 1981-2010 average and final numbers for 2012-2018. As you can see, the 2019 NOAA high end and CSU predictions are above the long term average. Additionally, NOAA’s low end predictions are below the long term average and the second lowest overall in front of the 2014 season.
2019 Atlantic Basin Tropical Cyclone Names
- Followed by the greek alphabet, if needed.
It is important to keep in mind that this annual forecast is a prediction, not what will happen. Mother Nature can, and will do whatever she wants and even the best forecast models will be thrown for a loop. It is imperative to stay alert in the event a system develops and for those living in coastal areas to be prepared.
We will continue to track tropical systems that have the potential to impact cruise itineraries as well as frequent Caribbean and Bahamian ports of call. We strive to provide accurate and updated information, but ultimately the best source of up to date information on these systems the National Hurricane Center and your local National Weather Service offices. Basically, what I am saying is that we should not be used as official forecast information. The goal is to share the information from the NHC and how it relates or impacts it may have on the sailings and ports of call.
We have been covering hurricane season since the website launched and have a dedicated Tropical Weather page.