With hurricane season peak approaching, experts predict ‘near average’ activity

A NOAA satellite image of Hurricane Isabel taken on Sept. 10, 2003.

A NOAA satellite image of Hurricane Isabel taken on Sept. 10, 2003.

The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season is still on track to produce “near average” activity, according to a prediction by atmospheric scientists.

An update to an April report issued by Colorado State University anticipates 14 named storms, including seven hurricanes and two major hurricanes, or cyclones that reach Category 3 strength or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

In the April report, the scientists called for 13 named storms, including five hurricanes and two major hurricanes. The update accounts for Subtropical Storm Andrea and Hurricane Barry. NOAA called for a near normal season in May.

An average season, which peaks in mid-September, produces 12 named storms of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.

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The updated outlook notes that sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean “remain near average,” and vertical wind shear in the Caribbean region “remains relatively high.”

Hurricanes thrive with warmer waters, a moist and unstable atmosphere with thunderstorm activity, and weaker wind shear.

According to Weather Underground, “wind shear hurts tropical cyclones by removing the heat and moisture they need from the area near their center.”

Some Atlantic basin seasons feature below average activity but still result in a devastating storm, like Hurricane Andrew in 1992, while others like 2010 — third most active season on record — did not feature a hurricane making landfall.

“Coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them, and they need to prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted,” according to the Colorado State University outlook.

The 2019 Atlantic basin hurricane season began on June 1 and continues through November 30. Upcoming names include Chantal, Dorian, Erin, Fernand, Gabrielle, Humberto, Imelda, Jerry, Karen, Lorenzo, Melissa, Nestor, Olga, Pablo, Rebekah, Sebastien, Tanya, Van, and Wendy.

The New Jersey Office of Emergency Management offers a hurricane survival guide.

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