AccuWeather's 2019 Atlantic hurricane season forecast
By Jillian MacMath, AccuWeather staff writer
April 04, 2019, 9:30:44 AM EDT
After an active Atlantic hurricane season in 2018, AccuWeather forecasters are predicting 2019 to result in a near- to slightly above-normal season with 12 to 14 storms.
Of those storms, five to seven are forecast to become hurricanes and two to four are forecast to become major hurricanes.
“This year, we think that there will be a few less tropical storms and lower numbers in hurricanes, but again, the old saying is ‘it only takes one’,” AccuWeather Atlantic Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski said.
After the U.S. took a battering in 2018, thanks largely to Michael and Florence, meteorologists are once again forecasting impacts for the United States.
According to Kottlowski, two to four are likely.
To help predict the upcoming season, forecasters have drawn comparisons to previous years with comparable weather conditions — also known as analog years.
In this case, 1969 bears strong similarity to our current pattern.
During that season, Hurricane Camille slammed into the Gulf coastline, making landfall in Waveland, Mississippi, and causing widespread damage to several coastal areas, including Mobile, Alabama. It became one of only three Category 5 hurricanes on record to impact the U.S.
But that doesn’t mean we’ll experience something similar this year, Kottlowski said.
What is El Niño?
The devastation from these 2 catastrophic 2018 Atlantic hurricanes was so intense, their names will never be used again
Reed Timmer details the heart-pounding moments from 5 of his most extreme storm chases in 2018
AccuWeather’s new RealImpact™ Scale for Hurricanes will revolutionize damage predictions for greater public safety
What is wind shear and how does it impact hurricanes, other tropical cyclones?
“We caution that just because that hurricane went into Mobile, Alabama, that doesn’t mean you’re going to get hit by a Category 5 hurricane,” he said.
“But it shows you that this year, at least the climate pattern has the capability to produce several very strong storms and so people should not let their guard down.”
Other years with similar conditions have resulted in impacts up and down the coast, including all the way from Brownsville, Texas, to the Florida panhandle and up the mid-Atlantic coast.
“This year, just about all coastal areas look like they have equal chances,” Kottlowski said.
Early on in the season, however, AccuWeather meteorologists will be monitoring the potential for development off the Southeast coast, the Gulf of Mexico and in the Caribbean.
“Those are the areas that we will monitor very closely, not only in June, but because water temperatures are warm, we start looking at that even in April and May,” he said.
The Atlantic hurricane season officially gets underway June 1.
Despite early predictions, one of the biggest factors in how an Atlantic hurricane season unfolds is whether the global climate is under the influence of El Niño, La Niña or in a neutral phase.
AccuWeather is forecasting that the current El Niño phase and intensity should continue right through the summer, including the most active time of the season: August, September and October.
This would lead to more frequent episodes of wind shear across the basin, which limits tropical cyclone development and intensification.
“If this current El Niño continues or strengthens, then the number of tropical storms and hurricanes will be near or below normal,” Kottlowski said. “If the El Niño weakens and goes neutral, the number of tropical storms and hurricanes could actually be higher than normal.”
Regardless of how the season pans out, Kottlowski warns that everyone living along the coast should have a hurricane plan in place.
He said: “Now is the time to start planning. Of those people who were impacted by Florence and Michael last year, the ones who did not have plans in place had the most difficulty in dealing with the storm when it was occurring and during the recovery.”
Comments that don't add to the conversation may be automatically or manually removed by Facebook or AccuWeather. Profanity, personal attacks, and spam will not be tolerated.
More Weather News
These 2 EMTs drove their ambulance into an EF3 tornado and survived -- and they have the video to prove it
Weather News - April 23, 2019, 8:31:35 PM EDT
They're lucky to be alive after driving 'into the heart of the tornado,' which a look at their vehicle after the ordeal confirms.
Weather News - April 23, 2019, 1:25:13 PM EDT
Temperatures in Coachella on Friday were in the 90s, and the discovery a homeless man made that day was the difference between life and death, officials say.
Weather News - April 23, 2019, 12:02:28 PM EDT
The hottest days of the year will grip much of central and northern India in the coming days, and this heat wave is unlikely to end anytime soon.
Weather News - April 23, 2019, 2:06:33 PM EDT
As the excitement builds for the NFL Draft 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee, from Thursday to Saturday, the weather may have other plans for the first round.
Weather News - April 23, 2019, 11:37:58 AM EDT
Heavy rainfall caused deadly flooding and turned roadways into raging rivers in parts of eastern South Africa Monday night into Tuesday.
Weather News - April 23, 2019, 10:42:38 AM EDT
A new tropical threat in the southern Indian Ocean may bring life-threatening weather to parts of Mozambique and Tanzania later this week.
Weather News - April 23, 2019, 2:57:25 PM EDT
While a severe weather outbreak is not expected, heavy, gusty thunderstorms will stretch from the eastern Great Lakes to the central Appalachians and part of the Ohio Valley into Tuesday evening.