2019 Hurricane season outlook: Slightly below-normal Atlantic activity

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HOUSTON – Dr. Phil Klotzbach, a renowned meteorologist and hurricane expert from Colorado State University, issued his annual early-spring Atlantic hurricane season outlook Thursday. He predicts slightly below-normal activity for 2019.

Klotzbach predicts 13 named storms, five hurricanes and two major hurricanes, which is very close to a normal season.

He believes that the Gulf Coast and the Atlantic Coast of the U.S. each have a 28 percent chance of a major hurricane strike this season.  That’s slightly below the 30 percent and 31 percent normal chance for the Gulf Coast and Atlantic Coast, respectively.

Klotzback uses both historic climate data and forecast data to predict activity for the upcoming tropical season. 

One key factor this year is the presence of an El Nino, characterized by above-normal temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean off the coast of South America. 

El Nino events tend to create strong upper level wind patterns in the Atlantic basin, which inhibits hurricane formation.

Another variable Klotzback watches closely is Atlantic Ocean water temperature. Warmer-than-normal water has more energy available to support hurricane formation, which would signal an active season.  Right now, only the subtropical Atlantic has above normal temperatures. 

The tropical and far north Atlantic regions are both cooler than normal.

There are many other variables and considerations that go into hurricane season outlooks. They need to be monitored closely throughout the summer months to see how they stack up to the original forecast. Likely, the forecast will need to be tweaked in real time as the season unfolds. For that reason, Klotzbach will issue an updated outlook in early June based on the newest data available.

One thing to stress is that it only takes one storm to hit your home for the season to be catastrophic for you. Therefore, it is extremely important to develop a plan of action now so that you know what to do the next time a hurricane threatens the Upper Texas Coast. And remember, there is no doubt that there will be a next time.  It is just a matter of when, so be prepared now.

Stay with KPRC Channel 2 and Click2Houston.com before and during the hurricane season this year to stay fully informed on all updates as they happen.

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