April 2015 Hurricane Season Forecast

2015AnalogHurricaneMap

Winter 2014-2015 has been brutally cold for the North, while West and Alaska have enjoyed another warm winter. Hurricane season is looming as usual as it starts on June 1, 2015.

Tropical Storm/Hurricane/Major Hurricane ACE=Accumulated Cyclone Energy

Colorado State University
7/3/1 ACE: 40

Tropical Storm Risk
11/5/2 ACE: 56

Joe Bastardi (Weather Bell)
7 to 9 Storms/3 to 5 Hurricanes/1 to 2 Major Hurricanes ACE: None

Larry Cosgrove
15/9/3 ACE: None

North Carolina State University
4 to 6 Storms/1 to 3 Hurricanes/1 Major Hurricanes ACE: None

WSI
9/5/1 ACE: None

Climate Prediction Center has declared El Nino has developed and many forecast model have El Nino into this summer. With this, I have come up with analog seasons and it has El Nino in mind.

Analog Years For 2015 (TS/H/MH ACE ACE/Storm)
1877 8/3/1 73 9.1
1905 5/1/1 28 5.6
1940 9/6/0 68 7.6
1941 6/4/3 52 8.7
1969 18/12/5 166 9.2
1977 6/5/1 25 4.2
1987 7/3/1 34 4.9
1992 7/4/1 76 10.9

I chose these years because they are in the middle of a multi year El Nino or El Nino that occurred back to back regardless of breaks during those times. 1877, 1905, 1940, 1941, 1969, and 1987 are multi year El Nino with no cool downs below El Nino threshold. 1977 and 1992 had El Nino, but they started El Nino, went Neutral, and El Nino by the end of the year.

So, what affect did those analog seasons have?

1905
Hurricane #4 traverses the Caribbean and Atlantic. Deadliest hurricane for the quiet 1905 season, which claims 8 lives. Most of the death occurred on board the ship, Campania, as it encountered what was the hurricane.

1940
Hurricane #2, which is the 1940 Louisiana Hurricane makes landfall as a Category 2 hurricane. The slow movement led to massive rainfall totals of up to 38 inches! 20,000 square miles was affected by heavy rain, which had an average of 12.10 inches! The storm set many state rainfall records for Louisiana, which still stand to this very day.
Hurricane #3 hits South Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane. The storm dumps heavy rain of up to 21 inches triggering deadly mudslides in Appalachia. The storm claims a total of 52 lives.
Hurricane #4 ravages New England before hitting Nova Scotia. The hurricane moisture and a stationary cold front leads to heavy rain over New Jersey including up to 24 inches, which is the wettest for the state.
Hurricane #5 hits Nova Scotia just weeks after Hurricane #4. It hits Nova Scotia as a hurricane and causes damage.

1941
Tropical Storm #1 made landfall between Galveston and Port Arthur as a tropical depression after it peaked as a 60 mph tropical storm.
Hurricane #2 made landfall on Bay City as a Category 3 hurricane with 125 mph winds and 942 millibar central pressure. It is just a week after Tropical Storm #1 made landfall. Many areas reported 100 mph winds with gust as high as 150 mph. It went west over Houston, causing extensive damage and claiming 7 lives.
Hurricane #5 ravages Bahamas, South Florida, and Florida Panhandle. It is a small hurricane that dumps very little rain over South Florida.
Tropical Storm #6 travereses across the Florida Straits before making landfall at Cedar Key. It stalls over and dumps up to 35 inches of rain in four days!

1969
Hurricane Camille hit Cuba as a Category 2 hurricane. Than Camille underwent explosive intensification over the Gulf of Mexico. Camille had 900 millibars and 175 mph wind prior to making landfall on Mississippi Delta and Mississippi as a Category 5 hurricane. Gusts went high as 250 mph! The remants of Camille and cold front set off core rains over Western Virginia with extremely heavy rains centered over Nelson County, Virginia. Up 27 inches of rain was recorded with totals possibly as high as 31 to 46 inches! Camille claimed 259 lives, mostly in Virginia from flooding.
Francelia ravages Central America before making landfall on Belize. The slow moving hurricane dumped heavy rain over Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Honduras. The hurricane claims 271 lives, making it the deadliest prior to Mitch in 1998.

1977
Hurricane Anita formed in the Gulf of Mexico and rapidly intensified as a Category 5 hurricane 175 mph winds and barometic pressure of 926 millibars. Anita made landfall as a strong Category 4 hurricane on Soto la Marina, Tamaulipas. 11 people are known to have died from flooding and mudslides.

1987
Tropical Storm #2, which is 1987 Gulf Coast Tropical Storm makes landfall on Texas, but most the heavy rain is east of the center. The Gulf Coast saw rain amount as high as 21 inches.
Emily hits Dominican Republic as Category 2 hurricane and emerges as a tropical storm. However, it undergoes rapid intensification to Category 1 hurricane of 90 mph and goes directly over Bermuda. Emily is the strongest hurricane to hit Bermuda since 1948.

1992
Hurricane Andrew ravaged Bahamas and Florida as a Category 5 hurricane with 175 mph winds and 920 millibar pressure. It traversed over the Gulf of Mexico as a Category 4 hurricane before making landfall on Central Louisiana as a Category 3 hurricane. Once it was all done, South Florida was cut off from the world and did $27 billion in damages. Andrew was the costliest hurricane at the time prior to Katrina in 2005.

Generally, those analog seasons were quiet with the exception of 1969. 1969 was a very active season despite El Nino. It comes to show that an El Nino season is not always quiet. Another example of an active El Nino season is 2004 and that was a devastating year like 1969. 1969, 1977, and 1992 had a Category 5 hurricane. The last time Atlantic saw a Category 5 hurricane was Felix in 2007. This suggests that we may see a Category 5 hurricane this year. I am not suggesting it will happen, but it is a possibility.

I created a GIS heat map based on within 300 miles of the tropical system. The heat map also shows that all areas in the Atlantic are at risk, which is I never issue landfall prediction. It is equal chance for everyone.

2014AnalogHurricaneHeatMap

El Nino seasons are less active due to westerly wind shear from the Pacific. Most of the Atlantic is quiet as a result. However, Gulf of Mexico and Subtropical Atlantic are hot spots for tropical development and potential risk for landfall. The Gulf of Mexico is a hot spot in these analog years I mentioned. In fact, the 2015 analog heat maps looks similar to 2014.

2014AnalogHurricaneHeatMap

However, since Gulf of Mexico and Subtropical Atlantic are the hot spots, this suggests they are most at risk for something tropical making landfall. Also, El Nino has less impact on Gulf of Mexico and Subtropical Atlantic as there is less wind shear.

Analog
Mean
8.25/4.75/1.63
9/5/2 (Rounded up)

Median
7/4/1

Standard Deviation
4.13/3.28/1.6

ACE
Mean
65.25

Median
60

Standard Deviation
45.5

ACE/Storm
Mean
7.52

Median
8.15

Standard Deviation
2.38

What is my prediction for this season?
6 to 10 named storms, likely 8 named storms
4 to 6 hurricanes, likely 4 hurricanes
1 to 3 major hurricanes with 2 major hurricanes
ACE is 40 to 90 with ACE likely of 50 to 80

Let’s see how my April 2014 hurricane forecast compare to the actual 2014 season.

8 to 13 named storms, likely 11 named storms
4 to 7 hurricanes, likely 6 hurricanes
1 to 3 major hurricanes with 2 major hurricanes
ACE is 50 to 110 with ACE likely of 60 to 90

2014 Actual Number
8 Named Storms
6 Hurricanes
2 Major Hurricanes
67 ACE

Not bad. I did the number of hurricanes and major hurricanes right. I was close with named storms and ACE. It is better than 2013 for sure. It shows it is hard to make a prediction starting in April as things can change.

Another troubling aspect is this is 2015. The last time we had a year end in “5”, it was a devastating year. 2005 was the last year with a “5” at the end. It was the year of Dennis, Emily, Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. 1995 had Luis, Marilyn, Opal, and Roxanne.

Years that end in “5” since 1870.
1875
Indianola Hurricane of 1875

1885
Hurricane #2

1895
Hurricane #2

1905
Hurricane #4

1915
Galveston Hurricane
New Orleans Hurricane

1925
Florida Tropical Storm

1935
Labor Day Hurricane
Cuban Hurricane
Jérémie Hurricane

1945
Texas Hurricane
Homestead Hurricane

1955
Connie
Diane
Hilda
Ione
Janet

1965
Betsy

1975
Caroline
Eloise

1985
Elena
Gloria
Puerto Rico Flood (Isabel)
Juan
Kate

1995
Luis
Marilyn
Opal
Roxanne

2005
Dennis
Emily
Katrina
Rita
Stan
Wilma

Those years that had “5” at the end were bad seasons no matter how inactive or active the season was. It shows, it only takes one, like in 1965. So, will 2015 be a bad season? Only time will tell. It takes just one to be a devastating season.

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