Hurricane Season 2016 – A First Look At The Tropical Season
Three months is an eternity in weather forecasting. Let's face it most forecasts have trouble being spot on for 36 hours much less 86 days. Still, because we love to speculate, we're going to share with you the latest totally non-binding scenarios from the hurricane experts at Colorado State.
The folks at CSU are the ones who have become the hurricane authorities over the past decade or two. Their research and forecasting has placed them as the most respected tropical weather team in the country. So what do they think we will see in 2016?
The current thinking based a story published on Wunderground.com is that 2016 will be well above average in the number of storms and their severity or it will be well below average. I know you're thinking they are really covering their backsides with that kind of forecast. It's not really a forecast. It's more like a scenario projection based on a lot of "if this happens then this will occur".
Let's take a look at why either really busy or really quiet seem to be the most likely set ups for the coming season. As you might imagine it all comes down to our old buddy El Nino. This weather feature that refers to higher than normal water temperatures in the Pacific has been the reason that this year's season has been so quiet.
Forecasters believe that El Nino will soon be replaced by La Nina conditions. Depending upon how quickly the warm sea surface temperatures of El Nino degrade into the cooler sea surface temperatures of La Nina will determine the severity of our 2016 hurricane season.
A study of two previous El Nino to La Nina events showed that the rate of temperature change over time had a lot to do with the season being active or quiet. In 1983 the change produced a season that was 17% of average. In 1998 a similar scenario yielded a tropical season that was 182% of average.
So what's it gonna be? One or the other most likely. Sorry to not be able to offer a definitive answer now but you don't need to know now. Tropical forecasters will consider these hypothesis and project them over the next three months and by June first you will know whether you're going actually need that hurricane kit this year.