2019 hurricane forecast raised to seven after Barry, by Colorado State

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One additional Atlantic hurricane is now being forecast for the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season by the Colorado State University (CSU) tropical weather forecasting team, after it included recent storm Barry in its seasonal forecast.

hurricane-michael-2018For the entire 2019 Atlantic tropical storm and hurricane season, the Colorado State team led by Philip J. Klotzbach has updated its forecast to 14 named storms, 7 hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes of Category 3 strength or greater.

The figures have been lifted since tropical storm Barry briefly made hurricane status as it approached landfall on the Gulf Coast.

That storm is not expected to cause a significant insurance or reinsurance market loss, with the latest estimates ranging from $300 million to a maximum of $600 million.

But the intensification of Barry into a hurricane has led the forecasters to add it to their forecast for the number of hurricanes that will form, meaning there are still 6 more hurricanes to go during the season, according to the Colorado State team’s prediction.

Overall the forecast remains around the average, or very slightly above the median average for the season.

In terms of landfall probabilities, given one landfalling hurricane has now been experienced, the Colorado State Uni team has reduced the probabilities by just a single percentage point to account for Barry except for the Gulf coast where the team feels the chances of a further hurricane landfall haven’t dipped.

The Colorado State team give a 53% chance of a hurricane making landfall somewhere on the U.S. coastline during the rest of the 2019 season, down from a 54% pre-Barry chance.

The forecast now suggests a 31% chance of a hurricane making landfall on the U.S. East Coast Including Peninsula Florida, which is the average, and a 31% chance of a hurricane hitting the Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle westward to Brownsville, slightly above the average of 30%.

The probability of a major category 3 or stronger hurricane tracking into the Caribbean is given as 43% for the 2019 season, slightly above average again.

While the chances of an El Niño disrupting the season appear to have declined a little, given the odds of it persisting through the season have decreased, the forecasters feel wind shear will remain a factor for hurricanes.

The forecasters explain, “We continue to predict a near-normal 2019 Atlantic hurricane season. The forecast number of hurricanes has increased slightly to account for short-lived Hurricane Barry which formed in July. Sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic remain near average. While the odds of a weak El Niño persisting through August-October have decreased, vertical wind shear in the Caribbean remains relatively high. The probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the United States coastline and in the Caribbean remains near its long-term average.”

They continued, “Current conditions in the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean present mixed signals for the remainder of the season. The central tropical Pacific remains much warmer than normal, while the eastern tropical Pacific has anomalously cooled. Regardless of the weakening of El Niño, we believe that the warmth in the central tropical Pacific should continue for the next couple of months, likely preventing upper-level winds from becoming too hurricane favorable in the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean.”

For insurance or reinsurance interests these forecasts are useful indicators of what might be expected, but it’s always important to look to the short-term Atlantic conditions for signals of potential storms.

With no activity expected in the coming week the Atlantic tropics remain quiet. But it only takes one depression to have a chance of forming, while wind shear becomes more favourable, for the United States coastline to be threatened.

Sea surface temperatures around coastal areas and the Gulf remain conducive to storm formation and intensification, meaning if a tropical storm can get close to land the chances of an intensified landfall and potential hit to insurance and reinsurance interests remain.

As a result, it’s important to keep track of all the 2019 Atlantic hurricane forecasts and every tropical storm as it forms, which you can do over on our dedicated Atlantic hurricane season page for 2019.

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