THE 2019 ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON: NOAA MODIFIES THE ORIGINAL FORECAST TO INCREASE THE PROPBABILITY OF ABOVE AVERAGE HURRICANE ACTIVITY IN 2019
Each year the Atlantic Hurricane Season begins on June 1 and concludes on November 30. On August 8th, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) revisited their earlier forecast, increasing the probability of ‘above average’ hurricane activity this season. Hurricane activity often peaks in the months between August and October; therefore, it is timely that NOAA reassess their original predictions. At the beginning of the season, NOAA predicted a 40 percent chance of ‘near normal’ hurricane activity and a 30 percent chance of ‘above average’ and ‘below average’ activity, respectively.
With the new projection, NOAA reports a significant increase in ‘above average’ activity to 45 percent and a substantial drop in ‘below average’ activity to 20 percent. Additionally, there are now anticipated to be 17 named storms, with five to nine reaching hurricane status.
2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook
This substantial increase in activity is due to the end of El Niño, which typically suppresses hurricane formation. Additionally, the Atlantic Ocean measures approximately half a degree Fahrenheit warmer this year than in previous years. This means that increased activity is expected off the entire east coast and will not favor the Gulf Coast, because this year there is a smaller than normal variance between the warmer Gulf and typically cooler Atlantic Ocean. With the conclusion of El Niño, a warmer than average ocean, and heavy precipitation off the west African coast; NOAA is forecasting winds favorable to prolonged and more active hurricane movement. The season is expected to have two to four major hurricanes with sustained winds above 111 miles per hour.
The previous two hurricane seasons saw increased hurricane activity and many named storms, including Hurricane Michael (the first Category 5 hurricane to make landfall since 1992), Hurricane Florence, Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Maria, and Hurricane Irma. In the onset of another ‘above average’ hurricane season, individuals should be prepared before the storm makes landfall. Preparedness resources from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are found here. FEMA recently released, as a part of the FEMA Ready Campaign, a set of public service announcements that emphasize the importance of being threat ready. Furthermore, Hagerty offers individuals preparedness activities here.
Please stay tuned as Disaster Discourse continues to provide situational awareness updates on hurricane activity in 2019.