South Padre Island, Texas – The early hurricane forecasts are starting to come in and the one that gets the most attention is from Dr. Phil Klotzbach at Colorado State University. His group has made a hurricane forecast the past 39 years. I got to meet with him at the Tropical Weather Conference in South Padre Island and get his thoughts on the upcoming season.
Klotzbach is forecasting 19 named storms, 9 hurricanes with 4 of them major, category 3 or above. As you can see from the above graphic, this another well above average season. In fact, Klotzbach says our overall weather pattern, the large scale environment, is similar to 2021. Last season we had 21 named storms, 7 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes.
The main reason we are expecting another busy season is the lack of an El Nino pattern. El Nino seasons produce strong wind shear in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Those winds can rip storms apart before they form and usually bring below average hurricane seasons. The forecast is for a weak La Nina or neutral pattern. If we get a La Nina pattern, this would be the third year in a row to have one. It will also be the 7th year in a row to have an above average hurricane season.
There are about 30 different hurricane forecasts. These range from Universities, government agencies to private forecasting companies. The European, UK Met and the Japan Meteorological Agency have issued their early season forecast. All agree, it’s going to be a well above average season. Here is the Euro forecast:
On average, one out of four storms that form in the Atlantic hurricane season hits the United States. So the more storms, the greater the impact. The forecast for a storm hitting Texas is 54% (the average is 36%.) The chance of a major hurricane hitting our state is 25% (average is 16%.)
We have not had a hurricane form in the month of May since Hurricane Alma in 1970. Klotzbach will update his forecast June 2nd.