The 2018 extended range tropical forecast has been released updated by Colorado State University Department of Atmospheric Science.
As at April 5 July 2, the forecast is for slightly above average storm activity below average activity for the Atlantic Ocean basin. The current weak La Niña is not expected to transition into a significant El Niño by summer and fall. El Niño conditions create vertical wind shear that inhibits hurricane formation. Without wind shear, the tropical Atlantic is conducive to storm development.
We have decreased our forecast and now believe that 2018 will have below-average activity. The tropical and subtropical Atlantic is currently much colder than normal, and the odds of a weak El Niño developing in the next several months have increased. With the decrease in our forecast, the probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the United States coastline and in the Caribbean has decreased as well.
Anna Maria Island evacuation for Irma, but no flooding, contrary to forecast 5′ – 15′ surge
2 landfalls on Florida Gulf Coast (Irma and Philippe)
Broad swath of property damage, trees downed, and power outages across Florida from Irma
Minor damage to Anna Maria Island properties and trees. Maximum wind reported was 92mph as the eye of Irma traveled inland of the island
Anna Maria City Pier and restaurant damaged beyond repair
The 2017 hurricane season was more active than predicted by the Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project forecast team. Three major hurricanes struck the United States: Harvey, Irma and Maria, causing devastating destruction to islands in the Caribbean and other portions of the tropical Atlantic:
“The 2017 hurricane season was extremely active. Overall, our predicted numbers from our early July and August issue dates for named storm and hurricane formations were relatively close to what was observed, but our early season predictions and our predictions for integrated metrics such as Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) were far too low,” said Phil Klotzbach, lead author of the forecast at CSU.
On August 18th, a weather disturbance in the Atlantic Ocean formed into an area of tropical interest and labelled “Invest 99L” by meteorologists. For ten days it crept across the ocean and meandered in the eastern Caribbean. By Monday August 29th, Tropical Depression 9 hatched, and unconstrained by prior nearby steering winds headed into the Gulf of Mexico to become Tropical Storm Hermine on Wednesday.
West Florida went on high alert. Storms this close sometimes run up the coast like Tropical Storm Debby (2012), sometimes change direction suddenly or quickly intensify like Hurricane Charley (2004). In any case Hermine looked like it would be a rain-maker like Tropical Storm Colin earlier this year.
Anna Maria Island residents experience nature’s best and worst conditions. Summer storms can be brief and invigorating or inconvenient and terrifying. Hermine kept offshore but the effects stayed around for 3 days, tossing 9″ of rain, 45mph wind bursts, frequent lightning and massive thunder booms from waves of storm-bred feeder bands.
Combined with 2½ feet of surge on top of 2½ foot high tides, torrential and long-lasting rainfall overwhelmed the newly installed “percolation” pit drainage, causing what many people described as the worst flooding they have ever seen on the island. Schools closed Thursday, roads became impassable, and sewers backed up. Power stayed on apart from a short outage when a falling tree brought down some lines.