Updates to two of the most-read Atlantic hurricane forecasts continue to suggest a well below-average season, as Colorado State University and Tropical Storm Risk both point to a quieter year in 2015, in terms of tropical storm and hurricane activity.
The Colorado State University Dept of Atmospheric Science forecast team of Klotzbach and Gray has upped its forecast for named tropical storms by 1, keeping the forecast for hurricanes the same, but only as a response to the early formation of tropical storm Ana in May.
Their forecast now calls for 8 named tropical storms, 3 hurricanes and 1 major hurricane to form over the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season. That translates to an accumulated cyclone energy ACE forecast of 40.
Meanwhile, the Aon Benfield supported Tropical Storm Risk initiative has also updated its forecast, reducing the forecast made in April of 11 named storms, 5 hurricanes and 2 major hurricane, down to 10 named storms, 4 hurricanes and 1 major hurricane, with an ACE forecast of 37.
Both forecasts are well below the long-term averages. TSR said that the low forecast may signal that; “The active phase for Atlantic hurricane activity which began in 1995 has likely ended.”
The Colorado State University forecasters said; “We continue to foresee a well below-average 2015 Atlantic hurricane season. A strong El Niño event now appears likely. Conditions in the tropical Atlantic remain unfavorable for hurricane formation. We continue to call for a below-average probability of United States and Caribbean major hurricane landfall.”
TSR explained; “The TSR forecast has reduced since early April 2015 due to updated climate signals indicating that the speed of the trade winds which blow over the tropical North Atlantic and Caribbean Sea will likely be stronger and more hostile to hurricane activity in August-September 2015 than thought previously.”
Of course while forecasts may call for below average hurricane activity it does not mean that impacts will be low. It only takes one storm to make landfall in a built up region of the U.S. coastline for the insurance, reinsurance, catastrophe bond and ILS market to face significant losses. Hence complacency is not advised.
It’s also worth reiterating that some forecasters have noted that conditions near to the U.S. coastline are conducive to storm formation and strengthening, perhaps what helped Ana become a very unusual pre-season storm. With local factors conducive to storm intensification, it makes it even more important to watch any tropical development closely, especially if a storm nears the U.S.
Joe Bastardi of WeatherBell Analytics LLC said it well, when discussing the prospects for the 2015 season; “The entire season may have us asleep 75% of time, but the 25% of the time we have to be awake, it may lead to great wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
Across the forecasters we track at Artemis, the average now calls for 9.36 named tropical storms, 4.64 hurricanes and 1.36 major hurricanes.