Researchers have released their 2018 hurricane season forecast, which predicts a busier-than-normal season with at least three major hurricanes.
The Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project is expecting a total of 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes this upcoming season.
Water temperatures, which are known to have a direct role in the tropical cyclone development, are unusual this year, the forecast states. The western tropical Atlantic is “anomalously” warm right now while portions of the eastern tropical Atlantic and far North Atlantic are cool.
A storm is considered a major hurricane if it is a Category 3 or stronger. The official Atlantic hurricane season runs from June through November, although some storms have been known to occur outside of these months.
“We anticipate that the 2018 Atlantic basin hurricane season will have slightly above average activity,” the forecast states.
“We anticipate a slightly above average probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the continental US coastline and in the Caribbean.”
According to the NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division, the U.S. averages one to two hurricane landfalls each season. While 2018 is expected to be above the average of 12 named storms, six hurricanes, and three major hurricanes, this year’ season appears to be quieter than 2017, which saw 17 named storms, 10 hurricanes, and six major hurricanes.
Last year, seven named storms affected the U.S., battering Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico. Some of the most notable storms last year included hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. The 2017 season came after Florida experienced a record decade-long drought.
The forecast urges coastal residents to prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted.