Thursday, June 22, 2017 Page 5

2017 Forecast:

Less active than last year


he 2017 Atlantic hurricane season is forecast to be less active than a year ago with the number of named storms and hurricanes near historical averages.

Kimberley Zuill, director of the Bermuda Weather Service, said: ?We will see a slightly less active than average (number of storms and hurricanes) due to developing El Niño later in the season. It impedes tropical cyclone development due to increased wind shear and more stable air in the main development region.? But Ms Zuill warned locals that just because the season will not be as active as past seasons, ?it only takes one tropical cyclone to make it an active season for us!? She added that a tropical cyclone is all encompassing ? includes tropical depression, tropical storms and hurricanes. The Weather Company, an IBM business, agreed with the BWS director. It said a total of 12 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes are expected this season, which matches the 30-year average (1981-2010) for the Atlantic basin. A major hurricane is one that is Category 3 or stronger on the Saffir- Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. The outlook cited that the potential development of El Niño later this summer along with current and forecast sea-surface

El Niño could return at some point during the 2017 hurricane season, but there remains plenty of uncertainty regarding that....No matter what, it only takes one hurricane to cause havoc.

temperature anomalies played a role in their forecast for a nearaverage season. But there remains plenty of uncertainty regarding El Niño?s possible development, and therefore, how much of an effect it could have on the hurricane season. ?If El Niño fails to launch, we may be too low with our numbers,? said Dr Todd Crawford, chief meteorologist with The Weather Company. The Colorado State University (CSU) Tropical Meteorology Project outlook headed by Dr Phil Klotzbach calls for a similar number of named storms with 11 expected. CSU forecasts fewer hurricanes this year compared to average, however, with four expected in the Atlantic basin. The official Atlantic hurricane season began on June 1 and runs through November 30. Occasionally storms can form outside those months as happened last season with January?s Hurricane Alex and late May?s Tropical Storm Bonnie. No matter what, it only takes one hurricane to cause havoc. Jon Erdman from said there are a couple of classic examples of why you need to be prepared each year occurred in 1992 and 1983. The 1992 season produced only six named storms and one subtropical storm. However, one of those named storms was Hurricane Andrew, which devastated South Florida as a Category 5 hurricane. In 1983 there were only four named storms, but one of them was Alicia. The Category 3 hurricane hit the Houston-Galveston area and caused almost as many direct fatalities there as Andrew did in South Florida. In contrast, the 2010 season was active. There were 19 named storms and 12 hurricanes that formed in the Atlantic Basin. El Niño could return at some point during the 2017 hurricane season, but there remains plenty of uncertainty regarding that. This periodic warming of the central and eastern equatorial waters of the Pacific Ocean tends to produce areas of stronger wind shear (the change in wind speed with height) and sinking air in parts of the Atlantic Basin that is hostile to either the development or maintenance of tropical cyclones. continued on page 3

Before, during and after a storm, count on BF&M.


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