NOAA reduces hurricane chances in 2018
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issues an annual update of their hurricane season forecast just before the peak of the season in late August.
But this year, the announcement became more of a reduction than an update.
"Current and predicted oceanic and atmospheric conditions now point to a less active season than was predicted in May," said Dr. Gerry Bell, lead hurricane forecaster at NOAA.
Bell told reporters on Thursday that original forecasts in May that called for an average to an above average season would be revised. The weather service now calls for a below average to average season, with nine to thirteen named storms. This does include the four storms that have already formed.
"In general, the observed and predicted oceanic and atmospheric conditions now are much more inhospitable to hurricane formation and intensification," said Bell.
The main reasons for the adjustments are attributed to two main factors — an increased chance of influence from El Niño, and colder ocean temperatures over the central Atlantic Ocean.
"Back in May, the models were not predicting El Niño impacts and instead were predicting weaker shear, meaning more hurricanes in the main development region," said Bell.
Despite the forecast for less storms this season, Valley residents are encouraged to be prepared for storms ahead of time. This forecast also does not mean there will be less hurricanes that hit land. Long-term forecasts focus on the formation of storms, and not where they may go.