By Carly Sisson
Colorado State University predicts “below-average” hurricane season.
Boaters can prepare for a slightly below-average 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, according to researchers at Colorado State University. Researchers there cite the potential development of a weak to moderate El Niño during peak hurricane season that will increase westerly winds across the Caribbean into the tropical Atlantic that could destroy developing hurricanes. Recent cooling in the tropical Atlantic is also cited, for the cooler and drier climate mitigates thunderstorm activity necessary for hurricane formation.
The CSU Tropical Meteorology Project team predicts there will be 11 named storms during the season (June 1 to November 30), four of which are expected to develop into hurricanes with two reaching major hurricane strength (sustained winds of 96-plus knots). 2017 hurricane activity is predicted to be about 85 percent of the average season; comparatively, 2016 activity was about 135 percent. The reported landfall probability is down as well, with a 42 percent probability for the entire U.S. coastline, compared to the 52 percent average for the last century.
Despite the below-average predictions, CSU research member Michael Bell urges boaters to take precautions, stating: “It takes only one storm near you to make this an active season.”