SINT MAARTEN/CARIBBEAN - Latest indications continue to point to the potential that the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season may be more active across the central and eastern Atlantic than what we previously thought back in early April, Crown Weather reported.
“The big reason for this forecast of a more active season is due to the fact that a El Nino may never really form this summer or autumn and if it does, it may end up being quite weak. In addition, the ocean water temperatures across the Tropical Atlantic have warmed quite a bit over the past month.
“The combination of these two factors plus other indications point to the potential for an average number of named storms with the Lesser Antilles, the eastern Caribbean, the Bahamas and the US East Coast at risk from at least 1 tropical storm or hurricane.
“In addition, I continue to believe that we will see the formation of at least a tropical storm in the western Atlantic during the month of June. The area I think has the highest probability of formation is around the Bahamas, the western Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.
“The Numbers: 12 named storms, 7 of those storms becoming hurricanes and 3 of those hurricanes becoming major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson scale).
“Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) Index Forecast: I am forecasting an ACE index this year of 100. This number basically says that I expect that overall activity in the Atlantic may be around average.
“ENSO Forecast: All of the ENSO model guidance, including the European, CFS and JAMSTEC models, have trended away from an El Nino developing this year and instead are forecasting either a neutral ENSO or weak El Nino conditions. The latest analysis indicates that the earlier El Nino conditions that seemed to be forming over the Pacific has stopped. Instead the ocean water temperatures over both the eastern and central Pacific have cooled this month which indicates that any El Nino that may form is now on hold.
“As I mentioned back in early April, it would be unusual for a El Nino to develop this year because we just came off of a relatively strong El Nino back in 2015 and it's quite unusual to see a new El Nino develop just 2 years later. So, the fact that the ENSO model guidance is backing away from forecasting an El Nino does not surprise me.
Bottom line is that I could foresee a scenario that consists of a much more delayed onset of El Nino conditions until at least the September to November time frame.
“Sea Surface Temperatures:Sea surface temperatures across the eastern and central Atlantic have warmed considerably over the last month or so and in fact is the warmest since 2010. This means that the eastern and central Atlantic between the Lesser Antilles and the coast of Africa could be more active than what was previously thought.
“Further west, the ocean water temperatures across the Caribbean and the western Atlantic continue to be above average. With that said, the ocean water temperatures over areas above 30 North Latitude is not as warm as they have been in previous years and this could be a sign that the deep tropics could be more active than it has been in previous years.
“European Model Seasonal Forecast:The latest European model is forecasting an average hurricane season in terms of numbers. In addition, the latest European model guidance is forecasting a weak to perhaps a moderate El Nino and warm ocean water temperatures across the Atlantic Basin.
“The forecast barometric pressure map from the European model is forecasting higher than average pressures across the far north Atlantic and a trend towards lowering pressures from the Caribbean through the deep tropics.
“The forecast rainfall map from the European model seems to hint at above average rainfall from the Lesser Antilles eastward to just west of the Cape Verde Islands. In addition, the European model is forecasting above average rainfall across parts of the eastern United States. This makes me think that the Lesser Antilles, the Bahamas and the US East Coast could be at risk this year from a tropical storm or hurricane.”
“The Northeast and Eastern Gulf Coastis an area of significant concern for a tropical storm or hurricane landfall. The latest European model is pointing towards the possibility of tropical systems moving into the eastern Gulf of Mexico from the Bahamas or the northwestern Caribbean. This threat area includes the Alabama coast, the Florida Panhandle, the west coast of Florida and the Florida Keys.
“The Central & Eastern Atlantic from the Lesser Antilles to the coast of Africacould end up being more active than it has been in the past few years. The ocean water temperatures are now above average and it appears that wind shear could be near or below average leading to more active conditions than what was previously thought. My thinking is that the central and northern Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola & Cuba may be an area to really watch for tropical storm/hurricane threats.
“The Caribbeanis an area that could be more active this year than it has been over the last few years. The forecast trends from the European model are for more deep tropics activity which could impact the Caribbean. The Bahamas are another area that has an increased threat this year from either a very close brush or a direct impact from a tropical storm or hurricane.
“All-in-all,I think that we could see more tropical cyclone activity in the deep tropics this year with 3 areas of particular concern –1.the central and northern Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and Cuba;2.The northeastern and eastern US Gulf Coast, including the Alabama coast, the Florida Panhandle, the west coast of Florida and the Florida Keys and3.The US East Coast from eastern Florida to at least the New Jersey coast and possibly as far north as southern New England,” Crown Weather concludes.
2017 Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Names: