Hurricane season in 2018 was an “extremely busy” one, according to U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. In fact, he recently relayed that hurricanes in 2018 caused a total of $50 billion in damages.
U.S. Department of Agriculture meteorologist Brad Rippey suggested that this year will be different due to a “really robust” El Nino continuing through the spring.
If El Nino persists throughout the summer -- the likelihood is 70% -- this will act as a suppressing factor for developing storms in the Atlantic, Rippey said. Currently, near- to below-average activity is expected in the Atlantic region. The opposite is the case for the Pacific region, where above-average activity is expected, he noted.
The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration predicts with 70% confidence that the Atlantic region likely will have a range of 9-15 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), four to eight of which could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including two to four major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5, with winds of 111 mph or higher). An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which 6 become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes, the agency noted.
The eastern Pacific outlook calls for a 70% probability of 15-22 named storms, 8-13 of which are expected to become hurricanes, including four to eight major hurricanes. The central Pacific outlook calls for a 70% probability of five to eight tropical cyclones, which includes tropical depressions, tropical storms and hurricanes.