SECOND PRELIMINARY 2018 HURRICANE SEASON OUTLOOK…ISSUED JAN. 07, 2018…3:10 P.M. EST

Disclaimer:  This site is not affiliated with the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Hunters, Storm Prediction Center, or National Weather Service.  ALL forecasts herein are the result of my analysis, and I am solely responsible for the content.  As always, follow the NHC and Local NWS office guidelines, and your local Emergency Management officials for emergency decisions.
(T. F. “Storm” Walsh III)

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Good evening everyone!

Minimum temperatures should begin to modify by the beginning of the week, but slowly.  However, by Jan. 14-15, another blast of Arctic air is forecast to spill back into the deep south.  I will try to update on this next time I’m off from work.

I’ve been mulling over various information, and wanted to post another preliminary forecast regarding the 2018 hurricane season.  Based on analysis of the most current updates in climate modeling, the “consensus” still appears to be ENSO neutral-cold bias conditions for the 2018 hurricane season.  Some models warmer, others colder.  The UKMET Nino Plume forecast is the only model indicating La Nina conditions.

NINO 3.4 PLUMES BOM

NINO 3.4 PLUMES JMA MODEL

UKMET NINO 3.4 PLUME FORECAST

Analysis of the forecast SST anomalies indicates the current La Nina to gradually weaken somewhat by June through Aug.


Based on the values and trend of the current Nino Plume forecasts, I performed another analysis of the ONI (Oceanic Nino Index).  Given the discrepancies between climate models, and using an average of both temperature anomalies and trends, the following years came the closest as far as analog years.  Of course, as we get closer to the start of the season, this information will change somewhat, and I should have a better choice for analogs.  The years currently representative of the ONI trends/temps were 1985, 1996,2001, 2006, and 2012.  These years averaged 13.6 total storms or rounded up, 14 total storms.  Based on these analogs I took the average, and the year with the highest total(s), and came up with the following preliminary range.

TOTAL STORMS: 14-19
HURRICANES: 8-9
MAJOR HURRICANES: 3-5

Again, once we get to May, and even June of this year, I should be able to narrow the field.  Various parameters will be re-analyzed during various times of the season, given that some uncertainties can occur such as rapid cooling or warming of the Nino 3.4 region, state of the AMO, and state of the Gulf of Guinea.

Points to ponder in the above SST anomaly forecasts that would tend to indicate an above average season:

ENSO Neutral cold bias or weak La Nina
Possible colder Gulf of Guinea anomalies
Continued warm AMO
Indian Ocean Dipole

ENSO and the AMO kind of work hand in hand (per se’).  When the ENSO is in a neutral to cold state, and the AMO is warm and above average, this is seen in the atmosphere as an imbalance, or to put it another way, “Mother Nature” “SEES” more heat in the Atlantic (heat and moisture), thus in regards to air, there is more “net lift” on the Atlantic side, or rising air over the Atlantic, and sinking air over the Equatorial Pacific and nearby vicinity.  The “majority” of the models indicate either ENOS Neutral with a cold bias, or weak La Nina conditions.  It is noted in the SST anomaly forecasts, that above average SST anomalies range from 20N, northward.

As we all know, neutral to La Nina conditions allow for decreased wind shear, or little to none over the Atlantic MDR region.  The following is the current forecast from the CFSv2 Climate model regarding the Atlantic u200-u850 wind velocities in m/s, or in simpler terms, the values of the difference in wind velocity from the 200 mb level, down to the 850 mb level, otherwise known as wind shear.  The forecast indicates wind shear to be below normal or below average close to the entire 2018 hurricane season.  The CFS has been consistent now for 2 months.

CFSv2 WIND SHEAR FORECAST
IRT the Gulf of Guinea:  This generally plays a role in rainfall over Guinea, or in some cases, rainfall over the West African Sahel region.  Let’s look at the 2016 and 2017 hurricane seasons.  The Gulf of Guinea was pretty much showing warmer anomalies, albeit weaker warm anomalies in 2017.  A warmer Gulf of Guinea, in general, keeps the ITCZ pretty much suppressed further south over the African continent.  This causes the Sahel region to remain drier with average or below average rainfall.  If you notice the SST anomaly forecasts, some of the climate modeling, especially the CFS are indicating a colder Gulf of Guinea.  Given the pressure gradient created by cooling the Gulf of Guinea, in relation to the hotter African continent (higher pressure now over the Gulf of Guinea, lower pressures north), the ITCZ is pushed further north, and can reach into the Sahel region.  This allows for more rainfall over the Sahel, which in turn helps to cut down on SAL outbreaks and their severity.  This increases the chance of a greater number of tropical waves, and an increase in intensity of these waves.  Hence, the possibility of an above average season.

GULF OF GUINEA

2012 GULF OF GUINEA COLD ANOMALY

2017 GULF OF GUINEA WARM ANOMALY

The IOD (Indian Ocean Dipole), (to my understanding from previous readings) has an effect on the WAM (West African Monsoon) circulation, in that a negative IOD has the tendency not to disrupt the WAM, which plays a part in rainfall, and anomalous westerly surface winds at near 10N latitude.  We did observe the WAM a few times near the peak of the 2017 season, however if my understanding of this feature is correct, the WAM is more pronounced during a negative IOD.  The 2017 season witnessed a “neutral to “positive IOD phase.  The current forecast indicates the IOD may be neutral to warm, or neutral to positive.  This could be a slightly negating factor for a busy season, however the other factors mentioned would be positive for an above average season.

IOD


Positive: cooler in the tropical eastern Indian Ocean and warmer in the tropical western Indian Ocean.

Negative: warmer in the tropical eastern Indian Ocean and cooler in the tropical western Indian Ocean. 

Again, I will continue to monitor these factors for significant changes, which would change the outlook.

I also wanted to post some hurricane preparedness information early, so you will have plenty of time to go over the information for you to know what you need, and how to prepare if a storm affects your area.  Click on each graphic to view the guide.  These guides, and Pet Evacuation information are available on the right side of the page, under LINKS.

HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS GUIDE

PROTECT YOUR HOME

PREPARE YOUR BOAT

TAKE YOUR PETS

Have a blessed evening!

T. F. “STORM” WALSH III
GMCS, USCG (ret)
METEOROLOGIST / HURRICANE SPECIALIST /SEVERE WEATHER SPECIALIST
MEMBER WEST CENTRAL FLORIDA AMS
CoCoRAHS OBSERVER

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About palmharborforecastcenter

I am a Tropical Forecast meteorologist, providing hurricane forecasts during the Atlantic Hurricane Season. I retired from the U.S. Coast Guard in July of 2001. Meteorology became my passion in high school, and I have continued my educational background in meteorology since 1996, when I undertook the study of Tropical Meteorology. While working toward my degree, I had to unexpectedly withdraw from college due to my oldest sons medical reasons. I do however, meet the educational criteria of the AMS to be recognized as a meteorologist. Studies include, but are not limited to the Navy Aerographers Mate course, Naval METOC meteorology course, Meteorology 2010 Sophomore level course while attending St. Petersburg College, Clearwater, FL., Basic Forecasting course for operational meteorologists from Rapid WX, meteorology institute, a four month meteorological internship, and extensive research on numerous meteorological topics such as the MJO, NAO, satellite imagery interpretation, etc. I have been forecasting Tropical Weather (Tropical Storms and Hurricanes) since 1996, with my main client being three different Coast Guard Commands.
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7 Responses to SECOND PRELIMINARY 2018 HURRICANE SEASON OUTLOOK…ISSUED JAN. 07, 2018…3:10 P.M. EST

  1. originallt says:

    Glad to see you are getting more recognition. You deserve it!

  2. Anuj Agarwal says:

    Hi Thomas,

    My name is Anuj Agarwal. I’m Founder of Feedspot.

    I would like to personally congratulate you as your blog Storm Walsh has been selected by our panelist as one of the Top 100 Weather Blogs on the web.

    https://blog.feedspot.com/weather_blogs/

    I personally give you a high-five and want to thank you for your contribution to this world. This is the most comprehensive list of Top 100 Weather Blogs on the internet and I’m honored to have you as part of this!

    Also, you have the honor of displaying the badge on your blog.

    Best,
    Anuj

  3. Janet McGuire says:

    Thank You Storm!!! Always appreciate your research and great way of making it understandable. ; ) Been following you for years….as a Miami native (and Hurr. Andrew north eyewall survivor and now in Marathon & survived Irma). Kudos to you and many Thanks Friend!!! Blessings, Janet McGuire >

  4. Mac says:

    Not sure that I like the forecast of a more active season than last year, but, it is what it is. Thanks for your hard work Storm. Hope your New Year is starting off well.

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