Hurricane experts predict near normal season


EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A leading research group of experts at Colorado State University recently issued their forecast for the 2019 Atlantic Basin Hurricane Season.

The group is calling for 13 named storms, five hurricanes and two major hurricanes, meaning a category 3 storm or higher. These numbers are close to the 30-year averages of 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

But tropical forecasting isn’t just about the number of storms, it’s also about how quickly the storms form. A recent study, which included contributions from NOAA scientists, suggests that climate change may play a role in rapidly strengthening Atlantic tropical storms and hurricanes.

University of Rhode Island researcher Dr. Isaac Ginis was not involved in the study, but does share the same concerns.

“Over the last 30 years the number of storms that rapidly intensified tripled,” he said. “Based on the law of physics, we know that hurricanes would intensify if the temperature of the water increases.”

Since the study only went up to 2009, Ginis points out that it did not even include recent explosive storms like Hurricane Maria.

“Hurricane Maria intensified by 80 mph in less than 24 hours,” he said.

For this season, Colorado State predicts that the currently weak El Nino my strengthen later this year, which could help contribute to a slightly less active hurricane season.

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