Hurricane Forecasters Issue Differing Predictions

Colorado State University and NOAA differ.
August 12, 2019

Two days after Colorado State University (CSU) hurricane researchers issued a news release in which they continue to predict a near-average 12 hurricanes in the 2019 Atlantic season, with two reaching major hurricane strength, the federal government’s forecasting agency is out with a differing prediction. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warns hurricane activity is expected to be greater than normal. NOAA said it now expects up to 17 named storms before the season ends on November 30, with up to four of those becoming major storms.

NOAA said El Nino conditions had since returned to a neutral status, which will eventually allow hurricane formation to ramp up. None of these forecasts can say whether the coming storms will make landfall, which can only be predicted about a week in advance. Gerry Bell, NOAA’s lead hurricane forecaster, recommended that coastal residents begin preparing now, warning that “it only takes one storm to have catastrophic impacts on lives and communities.”

While CSU and NOAA—the two most prominent hurricane forecasting authorities—sometimes differ slightly in their predictions, this is the most significant divergence in recent memory.

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