April 2016 Hurricane Season Forecast

20050829_GOES-12_IR_Enhanced_0045Z

Already, Hurricane Alex formed in the Eastern Atlantic in January. It overcame hostile conditions on top of a strong El Nino. What does this mean? It this a harbinger of things to come? Hurricane season is looming as usual as it starts on June 1, 2016.

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

Colorado State University
12/5/2 ACE: 90

Joe Bastardi (Weather Bell)
11 to 14 Storms/6 to 8 Hurricanes/2 to 4 Major Hurricanes ACE:105 to 135

Crown Weather Services
11/7/2 ACE: 90

Tropical Storm Risk
12/6/2 ACE: 80

Accuweather
14/8/4

The Weather Channel
14/8/3

Crown Weather Services
11/7/2 ACE: 90

Analog Years For 2016 (TS/H/MH ACE ACE/Storm)
1878 12/10/2 15.1
1889 9/6/0 104 11.6
1897 6/3/0 55 9.2
1900 7/3/2 83 11.9
1931 13/3/1 48 3.7
1941 6/4/3 52 8.7
1958 10/7/5 121 12.1
1988 12/5/3 103 8.6
1998 14/10/3 182 13.0

I chose those years because they are coming off of a strong El Nino on top of a warm Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). Any data before satellite should be taken with a grain of salt. It is likely those seasons are more active than reported.

So, what affect did those analog seasons have?

1878
Hurricane #7 formed south of Haiti as a Category 1 hurricane with 80 mph winds. An American brigantine was wrecked on Tiburon Peninsula with everyone killed. It intensified into a Category 2 hurricane with 105 mph winds as it went over Eastern Bahamas. It intensified into Category 3 on September 30 and Category 4 on October 2, which peaked at 140 mph. The hurricane was a major hurricane at a high latitude up to October 8. It likely became an extratropical storm and affected Europe.

Gale of 1878, which is the eleventh storm of the season. A tropical storm formed west of Jamaica on October 18, 1878. Two days later, it became a hurricane made landfall on Cuba the next day as a Category 2 hurricane with 105 mph winds. It moves northward and makes landfall on Swansboro, North Carolina on the night of October 23, 1878 as a Category 2 hurricane with 100 mph. Hurricane force winds can be felt throughout the Eastern Seaboard. It merged with an extratropical low over New England. Once it was all over, 71 people lost their life from the storm.

1889
Hurricane #4 formed on September 1 east of Barbados. It made landfall on Puerto Rico as an intensifying Category 2 hurricane with 100 mph winds. The hurricane stalls off the Northeast from September 9 to 12 causing flooding from heavy rain and storm surge. The hurricane claims 40 lives.

1897
Hurricane #2 was first spotted in Straits of Florida on September 10. It is probable it formed further east. It makes landfall as a tropical storm around Marquesas Keys, Florida. Once it exits for the Gulf of Mexico, it intensifies into a Category 1 hurricane with 85 mph winds. It makes landfall on Cameron Parish, Louisiana as a hurricane on September 13. It weakens over Texas. The hurricane claims at least 29 lives in Texas.

Hurricane #5 forms south of Windward Islands on October 9. It is probable it formed further east. The hurricane travels over the Caribbean and turns northwest on October 14 towards Cuba. The hurricane makes landfall on Cuba on October 18 as a Category 1 hurricane with 80 mph. Most of the deaths are from the sinking of Triton near Pinar del Rio province. The sinking claims 188 lives and 42 people are rescued. The captain committed suicide. The hurricane weakens to a tropical storm and heads to the northwest and makes landfall around Cape Hatteras, North Carolina with 65 mph winds. The storm produce strong winds and heavy rain throughout the Eastern Seaboard. The storm moves eastward into the Atlantic and becomes extratropical.

1900
Great Galveston Hurricane. It made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane with 145 mph winds. It had a central pressure of 936 millibars. The hurricane produced 15 foot storm surge, which proved deadly. Once it past, 12,000 people died, making it one of the deadliest hurricane in the Atlantic Basin. Only Great Hurricane of 1780 and Mitch are deadlier. It remains the deadliest disaster in American history, exceeding 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and 9/11. Even with the death toll combine of 9,000, the Great Galveston Hurricane claimed way more lives.

1941
Tropical Storm #1 made landfall between Galveston and Port Arthur as a tropical depression after it peaked as a 60 mph tropical storm.

The 1941 Texas Hurricane is Hurricane #2, which comes a week after Tropical Storm #1. The storm lingers over the Gulf of Mexico before intensifying into a Category 3 hurricane with 125 mph winds and central pressure of 942 millibars. The hurricane made landfall late on September 23 as a large 115 mph Category 3 hurricane around Bay City. The hurricane went west of Houston, putting the city on the “dirty” side of the hurricane. Houston received considerable damage from the hurricane. The hurricane claimed 7 lives as it weakened and became extratropical. The extratropical storm would be a problem for Ontario and Quebec, Canada.

Hurricane #4 traverses across the Caribbean. It peaked at 130 mph Category 4 hurricane before making landfall on Cape Gracias a Dios, Honduras on September 27. It went over Central America and hits Belize with 85 mph winds. Once the hurricane exits into Bay of Campeche on September 29 and fizzles. The hurricane claims 43 lives.

The 1941 Florida Hurricane is Hurricane #5, which peaked as a compact Category 3 hurricane with 120 mph winds. It formed north of the Virgin Islands. The hurricane rapidly intensifies before it ravages Bahamas. The hurricane makes landfall as a Category 2 hurricane with 100 mph winds. It is a very small hurricane that dumps light rain. The highest rain is 0.35 inches, which is unusual. The hurricane goes over Gulf of Mexico as a small hurricane before making landfall on Carrabelle, Florida as a Category 1 hurricane with 90 mph winds. The hurricane went over Georgia causing damage. The hurricane claimed at least 10 lives and was not a rainmaker.

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 between October 17 to 22!

1988
Hurricane Gilbert is the most intense hurricane prior to Wilma. It had a central pressure of 888 millibars and 185 mph winds. It is on top of being one of the largest hurricanes known. It directly hit Jamaica as a Category 3 hurricane with 125 mph winds. Jamaica is ravaged by Gilbert from 19 foot storm surge and heavy rains that claim 49 lives. Once it exits Jamaica. Gilbert undergoes explosive intensification over the Caribbean. Than it hits Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico as a Category 5 hurricane with 165 mph winds. It is the first time since Camille hit the Gulf Coast in 1969 as a Category 5 hurricane. The Yucatan Peninsula is ravaged by strong winds, storm surge, and flooding. Once it exits Yucatan Peninsula, Gilbert goes over Gulf of Mexico. There is concerns that Texas could be hit by Gilbert, prompting evacuations.

1998
Hurricane Bonnie formed east of the Lesser Antilles. As Bonnie moved through the Atlantic, it intensified into a Category 3 hurricane with 115 mph winds. Bonnie made landfall as a large 110 mph Category 2 hurricane around Wilmington, North Carolina. Many areas saw 6 to 10 inches of rain from Bonnie. Once Bonnie left, it left 5 people dead and $1 billion in damages.

Tropical Storm Charley forms in the Gulf of Mexico and peaked at 70 mph. Not too long after, Charley made landfall around Port Aransas. On August 24, core rains form around the center of Charley, dumping 17 inches of rain on Del Rio and Ciudad Acuña. 26 people lost their life from Charley, mostly from flooding.

Hurricane Earl formed in the Gulf of Mexico from a tropical wave that left Africa on August 17, 1998. Earl intensified into a Category 2 hurricane with 100 mph winds. It had no discernable eye or eyewall, which is unusual. Earl made landfall around Panama City, Florida as a Category 1 hurricane with 90 mph. As it traversed the Southeastern US, Earl became extratropical. Once it entered the Atlantic, Earl rapidly intensified as an extratropical storm in the Atlantic with central pressure of 957 millibars. Earl made landfall on eastern Newfoundland.

Tropical Storm Frances formed from a monsoonal low in the Caribbean. It slowly moved into the Gulf of Mexico. The large area of thunderstroms became a tropical depression east of Brownsville, Texas. The lack of sheer and warm water, allowed Frances to strengthen into a large tropical storm as it made landfall around Corpus Christi, Texas as a strong tropical storm. Frances dumped heavy rain over Texas and Louisiana. Many areas saw 10 to 20 inches of rain. 44 inches of rain was reported in Escuintla, Chiapas, Mexico. Frances produced 8 foot storm surge, which is high for a tropical storm. It is due to its very large size.

Hurricane Georges is a long lived and very intense hurricane. A classic Cape Verde storm, which formed from a tropical wave. Georges rapidly intensified into a large Category 4 hurricane with 155 mph winds as it travesed the Atlantic heading towards Lesser Antilles. It weakened to Category 3 with 115 mph winds as it first made landfall on Antigua. It weakens to a Category 2 before it intensifies to a Category 3 with 115 mph winds before making landfall around Faljardo, Puerto Rico on September 21. It dumps extremely heavy rain over Puerto Rico of up to 30 inches. It exits Puerto Rico and heads for Dominican Republic and Haiti and makes landfall on September 22 as a 120 mph Category 3 hurricane. The mountainous terrain weakens Georges, while dumping extremely heavy rain of 39 inches over Dominican Republic and Haiti. Once Georges left, 589 people die in Hispanola, mostly from flooding. Than Georges heads to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba on September 23. Georges traverses over Cuba dumping heavy rain of up to 24 inches. Georges claims 6 lives in Cuba before heading towards Straits of Florida as an intensifying Category 2 hurricane with 110 mph winds. Georges made landfall on Key West with 105 mph winds on September 25. Georges heads to the Gulf of Mexico and makes final landfall on Biloxi, Mississippi as a 105 mph Category 2 hurricane on September 28. Georges stalls and moves slowly east dumping heavy rain of over 38 inches of rain! The Louisiana Superdome is used as a “shelter of last resort”, a first. The Superdome would be used for Ivan in 2004 and lastly with Katrina in 2005 which proved disasterous. Georges long reign of terror claimed 604 lives.

Hurricane Mitch is the most intense since Gilbert in 1988. Mtich formd from a tropical wave that intensified over the Caribbean. It underwent explosive intenisfication On October 25-26. Mitch had a central pressure of 905 millibars and 180 mph winds over the Western Caribbean. Mitch goes over Swan Island during its peak and a schooner, Fantome, gets destroyed, claiming 31 lives on October 27. Guanaja Island is hammered with 120 mph winds for two days, destroying every vegetation on the island. Mitch was forecasted to go north towards Yucatan Peninsula, but went southwards due to upper level ridging. Mitch makes landfall as a 80 mph Category 1 hurricane east of La Ceiba, Honduras on October 29. It lingers over Central America as it dumps extremely heavy rain as it draws moisture from Pacific and Caribbean due to its large circulation. The heavy rain causes deadly mudslides and massive flooding. Some areas record up to 75 inches of rain in the mountains. Very likely that some areas see over 100 inches of rain during its reign. Some rain gauges recorded 25 inches of rain in 6 hours before it got washed away! Mitch moves slowly over Central America dumping heavy rain nonstop, mainly at night. The heavy rain causes massive and deadly mudslides in the mountainous regions. Many areas are flooded greatly. Mitch than goes over the Gulf of Mexico and intensifies into a 60 mph tropical storm before making landfall near Naples, Florida. Many areas see 6 to 10 inches of rain as it spawns 5 tornadoes. Mitch becomes an extratropical storm as it heads to the Atlantic. What was Mitch ravages Ireland and United Kingdom with heavy rain, strong winds, and high waves. Once Mitch is gone for good, at least 19,325 people have died from deadly floods and mudslides. Hurricane Mitch is the deadliest hurricane since the Great Hurricane of 1780, which claimed 28,000 lives! Mitch is one of the deadliest disaster in the Western Hemisphere besides 2010 Haitian Earthquake and Great Hurricane of 1780.

Interesting those analog seasons have two of the deadliest hurricanes, Great Galveston Hurricane and Mitch. Does this mean that 2016 will be a deadly year? No, but anything is possible. Also, interesting to note, many hurricanes made landfall on the East Coast like in 1878 and 1998.

Here is a heat map of analog seasons. It is based on 300 mile radiusm from the storms.

2016AprilAnalogHurricaneMap

Looking at the heat map, the highest risk areas are Central and Eastern Gulf of Mexico, Southwest Caribbean, Hispanola, Lesser Antilles, and Eastern Atlantic. However, when you look at the whole basin, everyone is at risk for landfall, which is why I never make landfall predictions. Everyone is at equal risk!

It only takes one to be a bad year, no matter how inactive the season is. Case in point, 1983, a very quiet season. It is best known as Hurricane Alicia ravaging Southeast Texas on Augus 18, 1983. Let’s go to analog statistics.

Analog
Mean
9.89/5.67/2.11
10/6/2 (Rounded up)

Median
10/5/2

Standard Deviation
3.06/2.83/1.62

ACE
Mean
103.22

Median
103

Standard Deviation
51.21

ACE/Storm
Mean
10.43

Median
11.60

Standard Deviation
3.31

How do analog seasons compare as a whole. Statistics from 1870 to 2015.

Mean
9.82/5.49/2.03
10/6/2

Median
9/5/2

Standard Deviation
4.20/2.62/1.66

ACE
Mean
91.85

Median
83

Standard Deviation
53.76

ACE/Storm
Mean
9.38

Median
8.70

Standard Deviation
4.06

The analog seasons are within standard deviation, which indicates this upcoming hurricane season is going to be within averages.

What is my prediction for this season?
7 to 13 named storms, likely 11 named storms
4 to 8 hurricanes, likely 6 hurricanes
2 to 4 major hurricanes with 3 major hurricanes
ACE is 90 to 150 with ACE likely of 100 to 130

This includes Hurricane Alex that formed in January. Excluding Alex, it would be 10 named storms, 5 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes. Some of the analog seasons had high ACE/storm, like 1878, 1958, and 1998. Interesting to note they all have 8 at the end.

Let’s see how my April 2015 hurricane forecast compare to the actual 2015 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

2015 Actual Number
11 Named Storms
4 Hurricanes
2 Major Hurricanes
63 ACE

I was off with named storms. I got it right with hurricanes and major hurricanes. I was withing range for ACE.

Regardless, I think 2016 will be an interesting season. So fasten your seatbelt and prepare for a bumpy ride.

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