From year to year, the number and strength of storms that develop during the Atlantic hurricane season varies. This year, despite the pre-season arrival of Tropical Storm Ana, NOAA is forecasting a 70% chance of a below average season.
Tropical cyclones, known as hurricanes in the United States, develop around the globe at different times of the year. In this country, we are most affected by the Atlantic hurricane season, which impacts the North Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. It runs from June 1 through November 30.
The main driver behind this season’s mild forecast is the presence of El Niño in the tropical Pacific. This naturally occurring oceanic-atmospheric phenomenon is known to impact weather around the planet. According to NOAA, “El Niño can strengthen the trade winds and increase the atmospheric stability across the tropical Atlantic, making it more difficult for cloud systems coming off of Africa to intensify into tropical storms.”
While the overall number of storms expected to develop this year is low, it is important to remember that it only takes one land-falling system to cause serious damage.