CSU Issues First 2016 Atlantic Basin Hurricane Forecast. They Call for…

June 1st marks the start of the Atlantic basin hurricane season, and while there is significant uncertainty as to how much storm activity may occur, the Tropical Meteorology Project (TMP) at Colorado State University (CSU) is predicting an average 2016 Atlantic basin hurricane season due to two factors. First, El Niño is weakening and should dissipate by this summer, meaning that the strong upper-level winds that tore apart storms in 2015 are likely to be weaker. Second, the far North Atlantic is cooler than normal, and these conditions tend to create an environment with more stable air and sinking motion which disrupts the hurricane circulation.

There are a total of 12 named storms, 5 hurricanes and two major hurricanes predicted. Therefore, the TMP cautions that coastal residents need to be prepared and to avoid complacency at all costs:

“Coastal residents should always take the time to get prepared, regardless of the seasonal forecasts” said Phil Klotzbach, lead author of the forecast. “The United States has been extraordinarily fortunate to not have been impacted by a major hurricane since Wilma in 2005. However, this luck cannot continue forever.”

The TMP team predicts that tropical cyclone activity in 2016 will be about 95 percent of the average season. By comparison, 2015 witnessed tropical cyclone activity that was about 65 percent of the average season. The hurricane forecast team's probabilities for a major hurricane making landfall this year are:

  • Entire U.S. coastline – 50 percent (average for last century is 52 percent)
  • U.S. East Coast including Peninsula Florida – 30 percent (average for last century is 31 percent)
  • Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle westward to Brownsville – 29 percent (average for last century is 30 percent)
  • Caribbean – 40 percent (average for last century is 42 percent)

Please check the Landfall Probability Website for additional landfall probability information at various spatial scales including at the state and county level.

This year marks the 33rd year of seasonal hurricane predictions for CSU. Please note that the team’s annual predictions are intended to provide a best estimate of activity to be experienced during the upcoming season, not an exact measure. The team will issue forecast updates on June 1, July 1, and August 3. To access the full seasonal forecast report, as well as post-season verifications, please visit: http://tropical.atmos.colostate.edu.