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Colorado State: Another active hurricane season anticipated

FILE - This Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017 GOES-16 satellite image shows the eye of Hurricane Irma,...
FILE - This Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017 GOES-16 satellite image shows the eye of Hurricane Irma, left, just north of the island of Hispaniola, with Hurricane Jose, right, in the Atlantic Ocean. In a four-week span, hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria ravaged Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands. (NOAA via AP)(AP)
Published: Apr. 7, 2022 at 12:06 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The 2022 Atlantic hurricane season may be another active one, forecasters from Colorado State University announced Thursday.

The basin could see 19 named storms according to Dr. Phil Klotzbach, a research scientist at the university, and Professor Michael Bell. The scientists also predict nine hurricanes, with four of those becoming major hurricanes. A major hurricane is classified as one with maximum sustained winds of 111 mph or higher, which is a Category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

There were at least two factors into enhancing the risk of an active hurricane season, according to Klotzbach and Bell’s forecast. One of them was warmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures in the eastern tropical and subtropical Atlantic Ocean.

Positive [sea surface temperatures] in January–March are correlated with weaker trade winds and weaker upper-tropospheric westerly winds, lower-than-normal sea level pressures and above-normal [sea surface temperatures] in the tropical Atlantic during the following August–October period,” they wrote.

The weaker trade winds would limit the upwelling in the ocean, and keep the sea surface temperatures warmer. The setup also would limit wind shear that disrupts tropical cyclone development and maintains moisture and instability in the environment, according to the two authors.

Other factors to an active season include the warmer sea surface temperatures and below-normal sea-level pressures in the western Pacific Ocean. These variables suggest either a La Niña or a neutral phase in the tropical Pacific Ocean, which correlates with lower wind shear values in the Atlantic basin.

The last two hurricane seasons had setups that allowed for active years with a record 31 named storms in 2020 and 21 named storms in 2021.

Regardless of seasonal predictions, residents are urged to prepare for whatever nature may bring this upcoming season.

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