This Just In: Early Forecasts for 2018 Hurricane Season

An early forecast for the 2018 hurricane season calls for a slightly above-average season with 14 named storms, seven hurricanes, and three major hurricanes.

Dr. Philip Klotzbach of Colorado State University (CSU), a non-resident scholar for the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), released CSU’s first extended range forecast for the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season.

A typical year has 12 named storms, six hurricanes, and three major hurricanes. Major hurricanes have sustained wind speeds of at least 111 miles per hour (e.g., a Category 3 or higher), according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season was the busiest in the U.S. since 2005. Ten of last year’s 17 named storms reached hurricane strength—meaning they had sustained winds of at least 74 miles per hour—and six of the 10 hurricanes were major ones.

The Atlantic hurricane season begins on June 1 and concludes on November 30.

Klotzbach will be updating his 2018 forecast on May 31.

According to another forecaster, the preliminary news should be a relief to those in the South who were hit hard by Harvey, Irma and Maria in 2017.

The early hurricane outlook from Joe Bastardi, chief forecaster at WeatherBELL Analytics, a meteorological consulting firm out of New York, is 11 to 15 total storms, with 5 to 7 becoming hurricanes, and 1 to 3 being major hurricanes.

To the extent there will be cyclone activity next year, it is more likely to be further east and north than, according to Bastardi. “As far as impact, unlike last year when we plainly had the U.S. in the crosshairs, this year it looks like the U.S. will be on the western edge of the highest ACE (Accumulated Cyclone Energy) area,” he wrote in his forecast, noting that the highest activity will extend between 30°N and 40°N from the U.S. coast to 55°W.

“If I had to draw it today, the centering of the area of greatest activity would not be like last year. Look for storms to be stronger farther to the north and east than 2017,” Bastardi said.

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