TIME weather

Hurricane Forecasters Predict Calm Season in Atlantic

After a brutal winter, meteorologists in Colorado predict a mild hurricane season with just nine tropical storms—three of which will swell into hurricanes. But remember, they've gotten it wrong the past two years

Top forecasters at Colorado State University predict a calm Atlantic hurricane season this year, which may give coastal residents cause for concern if their last two annual forecasts are anything to go by.

The meteorologists’ report, used by insurance companies, emergency managers and the media to prepare for the next hurricane threats, forecasts nine tropical storms, of which only three will become hurricanes. Typically there are about 12 tropical storms and seven hurricanes a year.

But the weather forecasters haven’t done so hot in recent years: in 2012, there were nearly twice as many hurricanes as predicted. And a year later they predicted nine hurricanes and the region saw two.

And over the past 14 years, the team has been within two storms of the correct number only twice, according to a USA Today analysis. The other times they’ve typically been overly conservative, predicting fewer than the actual number seven times and more only four times. But no one ever said meteorology was a precise science.

The researchers said there is a 35% chance an Atlantic hurricane makes landfall in the U.S. during the season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.


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