Having just went through having a scare from Tropical Storm/Hurricane Elsa we are very aware that it’s hurricane season in Southwest Florida. A July update still shows the 2021 hurricane season predicted to be another busy one.
Fresh off of Elsa impacting our state, Colorado State University has released an update to its hurricane season forecast. The university is now predicting 20 named storms with nine becoming hurricanes. Of those, four are predicted to be major storms Category 3 or above. This number includes the already five named storms.
There is an above normal chance for major hurricanes having landfall in the Caribbean and the United States mainland. The reason Colorado State increased its forecast is a result of multiple factors: Atlantic Ocean temperature, climatology and the ENSO ( El Nino Southern Oscillation ) cycle.
Regarding the ENSO cycle, we are currently experiencing a La Nina, which is cooler than normal water in the equatorial Pacific off the coast of South America. A La Nina causes wild wind patterns in the atmosphere that promote hurricane development. The current La Nina is almost diminished and could cause an ENSO neutral condition. With ENSO neutral conditions the ENSO cycle is expected to neither promote nor inhibit hurricane formation. El Nino patterns tend to diminish hurricane formation be causing hostile wind shear over the Atlantic Ocean.
The tropical Atlantic Ocean has been running warmer than normal. Warmer ocean water provides more energy for hurricanes to flourish.
Be sure you have your hurricane supplies on hand. Know your evacuation routes. Remember Hurricane IRMA when many waited until the last minute to prepare. If you are instructed to evacuate; leave at once! Waiting only endangers yourself and the First Responders that must then come to your aid.