MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The meteorologists at Colorado State University are predicting a below average hurricane season in 2017. Based on forecasted atmospheric and ocean conditions, they are expecting a lower number of named storms and hurricanes. The Atlantic Hurricane season kicks off on June 1.
Prediction: According to the CSU Tropical Forecasting Project, four hurricanes, two major hurricanes (Category 3 or stronger) and 11 named storms will impact the Atlantic this season.
An average season boasts six hurricanes and two major hurricanes with 12 named storms, so the forecast is about 30 percent lower than normal. However, CSU does NOT predict whether or not any of these systems will make landfall.
How do they come up with it? CSU is basing this forecast on several factors. La Nina is going to transition into an El Nino this summer. During an El Nino, stronger upper level winds in the Caribbean can deter hurricane development. Cooler water temperatures in the Atlantic are also anticipated over the next few months.
The researchers at CSU use 60 years of data for their forecast. The current conditions are comparable to 1957 and 1972 when named storms were below average.
How will this impact the Mid-South? Even if CSU is correct on their prediction, none of these storms may impact the U.S. So, this may not have any effect on our area at all. However, there is some potential for one of those storms to make landfall on the Gulf Coast, which could cause high rainfall totals in the Mid-South. The First Alert Storm Tracking Team will closely monitor any tropical developments this season and continue to update you.