The forecast that came out this morning says there could be as many as 18 named storms from June to November.
Nine of those storms could become hurricanes. And four of those hurricanes could reach Category 3, or higher. All of those numbers are 50 percent above recent averages.
Dr. Gray says one of the reasons is the lack of El Nino. That’s the warming of the eastern equatorial Pacific, which tends to keep hurricanes from forming.
“And then, the ocean temperatures in the eastern tropical Atlantic are quite a bit warmer. Which, in past years, as indicated, when they’re warmer at this time, March/early April, we tend to have more active seasons.”
Dr. Gray says with these conditions, the Eastern Seaboard is more likely to get storms that make landfall. But the Gulf Coast is also 1.5 times more likely than usual to see a major hurricane.
“That doesn’t mean one’s going to occur. It just means the climate signals are more favorable for that to happen.”
Today’s forecast is the first of three that usually come from Colorado State University. Dr. Gray’s team will issue revisions right after the official start of the season in June, and in August, right before the season reaches its typical peak.