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CSU Atlantic Hurricane Outlook Released

Today meteorologists and research scientists at Colorado State University (CSU) have released one of the season’s earliest and most well-respected hurricane outlooks.

Early predictions expect this year’s hurricane season to be busier than average. Dr. Phil Klotzbach and the Tropical Meteorology Project at CSU are among the first to issue an outlook for the season. This year they anticipate 16 named storms, 8 of which becoming hurricanes and 4 of those becoming major hurricanes.

“One of the factors we are looking at for this year is that we do not anticipate El Niño conditions going on,” explains Dr. Phil Klotzbach, CSU Research Scientist.

The 2020 Atlantic Tropical Outlook issued April 2, 2020. Forecast via Colorado State University.

An El Niño would mean warmer-than-normal water in the central and eastern [tropical] Pacific Ocean. That tends to create more wind shear to tear apart hurricanes in the Atlantic. Because El Niño is not expected to limit development, more hurricanes may form.

Another factor this year is warm water in the Atlantic Basin.

“Warmer-than-normal water temperatures [in the Atlantic] are associated with a more unstable atmosphere and also more moisture. The combination provides more fuel for the storms and that in turn tends to lead to more active hurricane seasons,” says Dr. Klotzbach.

Contributing factors into the 2020 Atlantic Tropical Outlook, courtesy CSU.

There are five previous hurricane seasons that compare to this [anticipated] season, according to the CSU report. Those [analog] years are 1960, 1966, 1980, 1996 and 2008.

“We look at these five analog seasons and four of the five seasons we selected had above-normal hurricane activity, while 1960 had near-normal hurricane activity,” explains Dr. Klotzbach.

This hurricane outlook covers the entire Atlantic basin from a standpoint of below or above average activity. However, it does not guarantee you will [or will not] experience a tropical cyclone.

“Regardless of the hurricane forecast, we can’t say when or where storms are going to strike. So you need to be prepared for any hurricane season because it just takes that one hurricane making landfall near where you live to make it an active season for you,” advises Dr. Klotzbach.

Now is an important time to get your hurricane plan and kits ready before the start of the season on June 1st.


About the author
Summer of 1993, New England Dragway. That's when and where Steve knew he wanted to become a meteorologist. More than 20 years later he is extremely fortunate and blessed to be able to live his childhood dream. As a lover of math and science, Steve had a consistent interest in weather in elementary, middle, and high school before discovering you can major in meteorology. He attended Lyndon State Co... Load Morellege in Vermont where he received a bachelor's in meteorology-broadcasting and associate's in television news. He has worked as a meteorologist and reporter in Winchester, VA, Burlington, VT, and most recently in West Palm Beach, FL. He's recognized by the American Meteorological Society with the Certification of Broadcast Meteorologists.

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