2016 Hurricane Season Outlook - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

2016 Hurricane Season Outlook

2016 Hurricane Season Outlook 2016 Hurricane Season Outlook
U.S. Land Falls over the last 10 years U.S. Land Falls over the last 10 years

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF)- Hurricane experts are calling for a near average Atlantic hurricane season, but there are several questions surrounding the current outlook.

Dr. Phil Klotzbach with Colorado State University along with Dr. William Gray prepare outlooks every year for the upcoming hurricane season. Their outlooks are trusted and influence forecasts from the National Hurricane Center as well as meteorologists across the country.

The latest outlook was released earlier this month and calls for a near average season (based on a 30 year average) of 12 named storms, 5 hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes of category 3 or higher. While this sounds very encouraging. It’s important to note that it only takes one storm. We could have an average or even below average season in terms of numbers of storms, but if we have just one catastrophic storm make landfall it would prove to be a very “active” season. There’s no connection between an average or active season and how many storms actually make landfall.

This outlook could drastically change based on the phase and strength of El Niño or La Niña. We are currently coming out of an El Niño phase and will shift either neutral or toward a La Niña phase during the hurricane season. Studies have shown that El Niño/La Niña doesn’t really influence the number of named storms, it can increase our chances of having a named storm impact the U.S. The transitional nature of the El Niño/La Niña phase at the moment makes this current April outlook a little uncertain.

For everyone saying, “We’re due!” You’re right. The U.S. is long overdue for a land falling storm. We’ve only had 7 (8 if you count Sandy) land falling storms in the past 10 years. This is a record low for any 10 year period going back to 1850. We normally have about 17 land falling storms per 10 year period.

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