The final forecast, released Thursday, called for 14 named storms and seven hurricanes. They also predict three major hurricanes.
A tropical system becomes a “named storm” when it reaches tropical-storm strength, which means maximum sustained winds of at least 39 mph.
A tropical storm then becomes a hurricane when maximum sustained winds reach a speed of 74 mph. A “major” hurricane is a Category 3, 4 or 5; a hurricane reaches Category 3 strength with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph.
Klotzbach and his team based their forecast on historical hurricane season data from the past 29 years.
The median number of named storms over that time frame is 12; the median number of hurricanes is 6.5 and the median number of major hurricanes is 2.
Two sounds a lot better to me than three.
Maybe I have a little hurricane anxiety.
Stories like this don’t make me particularly happy. My home base of Charleston has seen more than its share of hurricane activity the past few years.
In 2015, we had massive flooding through much of South Carolina in what was called a “1,000-year flood,” in reference to the biggest flood one might expect over a 1,000-year time frame. It wasn’t because of a direct hit from a hurricane, but meteorologists said Hurricane Joaquin, which was still off in the Atlantic, was fueling the constant rains as moisture from that system was being pulled ashore from a low-pressure system.
In 2016, we had Hurricane Matthew, which did make landfall as a Category 1 hurricane near the area where Hurricane Hugo, a devastating Category 4 hurricane, made landfall back in 1989.
Just last year, there was Hurricane Irma, which caused more damage and more flooding in our area.
I’m ready for a break from hurricanes.
For years, I always said people would have to be crazy to live on the Atlantic coast where hurricanes could strike. I’ve been in Charleston now for 11 years. To be fair, it’s really only been in the past three years that there has been any significant hurricane activity.
But three years in a row is more than enough for me.
It’s not an exact science.
The forecast addresses a commonly-asked question: Why release a forecast at all? “People are curious to know how active the upcoming season is likely to be, particularly if you can show hindcast skill improvement over climatology for many past years,” it states.
An educated guess might just be better than no guess at all. It’s important to remind people that hurricanes are a possibility, even if most would assume that’s information everyone would know.
In 2017, the team initially predicted 11 named storms, four hurricanes and two major hurricanes. Those numbers were eventually updated to 16, eight and three respectively.
There were 15 named storms last year, 10 of which were hurricanes and six of which were major hurricanes.
Let’s all hope that reality for Hurricane Season 2018 indexes below the predictions!
Patrick is a Christian with more than 26 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.