The hurricane season for the Atlantic officially starts June 1, 2017 and continues through the end of November. Occasionally storms can form outside those months as happened last season with January's Hurricane Alex and late May's Tropical Storm Bonnie. According to an outlook released by The Weather Company, this year's season is forecast to be less active than a year ago with an average number of storms and hurricanes.
It's impossible to know for certain if a hurricane strike, or multiple strikes, will occur this season. Keep in mind that even a weak tropical storm can cause major impacts, particularly if it moves slowly, resulting in flooding rainfall.Here's some information about the 2017 hurricane season:
How Many Storms Are Predicted?
"The Atlantic hurricane season will likely produce a range of 11-17 tropical storms, of which 5-9 are expected to become hurricanes," Dr. Gerry Bell, a lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with NOAA said. "Two to four of those are expected to become major hurricanes, of category three or higher."
Will El Niño Play a Role?El Niño could return at some point during the 2017 hurricane season, but there remains plenty of uncertainty. El Niño is the "warming of the ocean surface, or above-average sea surface temperatures (SST), in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean," according to NOAA climate.gov. This periodic warming of the Pacific Ocean tends to produce areas of stronger wind shear (the change in wind speed with height) and sinking air in parts of the Atlantic Basin that is hostile to either the development or maintenance of tropical cyclones. NOAA put the odds of El Niño's development at 50 percent during August-December, according to their latest update. Atlantic hurricane activity is usually lowered by El Niño.
Any Other Factors in Play?
Dry air and wind shear can be detrimental to tropical storm or hurricane development no matter whether El Niño is present or not. The 2013 and 2014 seasons featured prohibitive dry air and/or wind shear during a significant part of the season, but El Niño was nowhere to be found.
What are the 2017 Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Names?
Arlene was used for a tropical storm this spring, and will be followed by Bret, Cindy, Don, Emily, Franklin, Gert, Harvey, Irma, Jose, Katia, Lee, Maria, Nate, Ophelia, Philippe, Rina, Sean, Tammy, Vince, and Whitney.
What Should You Do to Prepare For a Storm?
Acting Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Robert J. Fenton, Jr. advised several measures. "Have a family discussion about what you will do, where you will go and how you will communicate with each other when a storm threatens; Know your evacuation route; tune into your local news or download the FEMA app to get alerts, and finally – listen to local authorities as a storm approaches," he said.
For more information on Storm Preparation, read our blog post: Severe Summer Weather and Your Business.