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Hurricane Watch 2019

hurricane damage

Let’s talk about the early 2019 hurricane season predictions. It’s always interesting to hear what the meteorologists predict, especially for those of us who live in the tropics. Before we get into the predictions though, we thought it would be interesting to talk a little about what data meteorologists draw from when preparing their predictions.

As always, Mother Nature is the main force that dictates whether it will be an active hurricane season or a relatively calm one. One of the major indicators is the strength or weakness of the temperature circulation in the eastern Pacific Ocean known as El Nino. If El Nino is strong, tropical development in the Atlantic will be “quieter” or less active. This is because of the strength of the high-level winds that blow from west to east in the tropics. 2018 began as an El Nino year, but was upgraded to a more active forecast because the water temperatures remained close to normal and didn’t warm up as expected. To recap 2018, we saw 15 named Atlantic storms with eight hurricanes of which two were category 3 or higher.

2019 hurricane map

That brings us to this year. What does 2019 have in store? The early outlook appears hopeful. It seems that the atmosphere is going to take a break after two years of “frenetic years of tropical cyclone activity” according to an article published in the Herald-Tribune. The article goes on to say that “Colorado State University’s (CSU) first review of global climate patterns that could influence the 2019 hurricane season found a 65 percent chance that a less active hurricane season will unfold, giving an above-average season a 35 percent chance of occurring.”

Early predictions don’t actually predict the number of storms expected. Instead the forecasts are for the accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) which is the measure of the strength and length of cyclones. For example, an average hurricane season is rated as ACE 92. 2018 had an ACE 129 and 2017 broke records with an ACE 226.

The first predictions of the season will be around early April when CSU will issue its predictions, followed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in May. Predicting in advance is not an exact science as the weather conditions that affect a hurricane season often change.

This year, the federal Climate Prediction Center has estimated that there will be a 90 percent chance that El Nino formation will be moderate this winter and a 60 percent chance it will continue through spring. Will it continue through hurricane season? It’s too early to determine that.

StormGeo, a global provider of weather intelligence based in Norway, is noting that early indications for the Atlantic hurricane season could be a bit below-average in 2019. They are basing this prediction on a “lingering El Nino, leading to warmer-than-normal waters in the eastern Pacific. Warm Pacific waters enable thunderstorms, which increase wind shear and inhibit tropical development in the Atlantic.”

Experts all agree on one point – it only takes one storm to impact our homes, businesses and lives. The best advice we can give everyone is to be prepared for hurricane season every year…just in case.

As a reminder to Florida residents with existing homeowners insurance, wind coverage needs to be in place 30 days before coverage can take effect.  If you don’t have wind coverage now, contact your insurance agent for a quote.  Quotes are free, so ask.

This information is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice.  Should you have any questions or would like to discuss your risk exposure with your homeowners insurance, please contact the insurance pros at ARCW Insurance.  We are here to help.