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44% chance major hurricane could hit Caribbean in 2019

- according to hurricane forecasters at Colorado State University
According to the venerable hurricane forecasters at the Colorado State University (CSU), there’s a 44 percent chance that a major hurricane could strike the Caribbean this year. Photo: VIC
VI CONSORTIUM

FREDERIKSTED, St Croix, USVI- According to the venerable hurricane forecasters at the Colorado State University (CSU), there’s a 44 percent chance that a major hurricane could strike the Caribbean this year. The prediction, released in C.S.U.’s latest forecast on Tuesday, July 9, 2019 is 2 percent above the average of 42 percent for the last 100 years, CSU said.

For the US coastline, the probability climbs to 54 percent, just 2 points above the average of 52 percent.

CSU estimated in its latest forecast that 2019 will have an additional 6 hurricanes (average is 6.4), 13 named storms (average is 12.1), 54.25 named storm days (average is 59.4), 20 hurricane days (average is 24.2), 2 major (Category 3-4-5) hurricanes (average is 2.7) and 5 major hurricane days (average is 6.2).

The latest forecast is based on an extended-range early July statistical prediction scheme that was developed utilising 37 years of past data, CSU said. “We anticipate a near-average Atlantic basin hurricane season. The tropical Atlantic currently has sea surface temperatures near their long-term average. Near- average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic tend to be associated with near- average Atlantic hurricane seasons.”

CSU said the odds of the currently-observed weak El Niño persisting for the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season in 2019 have decreased slightly. If El Niño were to persist, it would tend to lead to more vertical wind shear in the Caribbean extending into the tropical Atlantic, tearing apart hurricanes as they are trying to develop and intensify.

“Neither El Niño nor tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures look to play either a significantly enhancing or diminishing role on the 2019 season. Consequently, we are forecasting a near-average season,” CSU said.

In June, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted a near normal 2019 hurricane season with 9-15 named storms, 4-8 hurricanes, and 2-4 major hurricanes.

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