Colorado State University (CSU) has released its first long range forecast for 2018 North Atlantic hurricane season which predicts slightly above average storm activity.
The report forecasts 14 Named Storms will occur in 2018, including 3 major hurricanes (being Category 3 and above).
The period 1981-2010 suffered an average of 12 Named Storms and 2 major hurricanes per season.
It also has predicted a 63% probability that at least one major hurricane will make landfall on the United States and a 52% chance that at least one major hurricane will track into the Caribbean.
These two figures compare to an average occurrence in the 20th century of 52% (United States) and 42% (Caribbean).
CSU is the first of the major recognised forecasters in 2018 to publish its findings and is due to release an update at the end of May.
Please click here for access to the full report
Alpha comment: whilst we tend not to attach too much credence to these forecasts, it is the case that the tropical eastern Atlantic is continuing to be warmer than usual, which tends to produce more active hurricane seasons. Recent history has also shown active seasons often come in pairs following prolonged periods of inactivity (eg 2004 and 2005). The volatile nature of hurricanes, however, means that computer models struggle to accurately predict the track of an active hurricane when only a few days away from the coast (eg Hurricane Irma in 2017), let alone the number of landfalling hurricanes which may occur 5 months in advance of the season’s peak. Unsurprisingly, the track record of such forecasters in predicting the number of landfalling major hurricanes (ie the ones that will bother Lloyd’s) is underwhelming. Furthermore (and most importantly) forecasts do not (and cannot) predict which section of a coastline the anticipated hurricanes will strike.
To quote a commentator a few years ago:
“I find these forecasts to be nearly meaningless. They contain no actionable information. I am all for the research, but not happy about the hype and scepticism it brings. In 1992 we had four Atlantic hurricanes from six named storms. It was a light season. The “A” storm came in mid-August. That was Hurricane Andrew. As with real estate, the three most important factors are location, location, location. Nothing else, including number of storms, matters.”