The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season will be in line with overall averages from 1950 to the present, according to researchers at North Carolina State University.
The 2017 season should see 11 to 15 tropical storms and hurricanes forming in the Atlantic basin, which includes the entire Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, according to Lian Xie, professor of marine, earth and atmospheric sciences at NC State. The 1950 to 2014 average for named storms is 11.
Of those named storms, four to six may grow strong enough to become hurricanes (which is below the average of six), with the possibility of one to three storms becoming major hurricanes.
This year’s numbers for the Gulf are slightly above the average of three named storms: Xie’s data indicate the likelihood of four to seven named storms forming in the region, with one to two of the storms becoming a hurricane.
In the Caribbean, two to three tropical cyclones may form, with one to two becoming a hurricane. In this scenario, the Caribbean could see one major hurricane this season.
Xie’s methodology evaluates more than 100 years of historical data on Atlantic Ocean hurricane positions and intensity, as well as other variables including weather patterns and sea-surface temperatures, to predict how many storms will form in each ocean basin.
NC State collaborators on the research include Joseph Guinness, assistant professor of statistics; Marcela Alfaro-Cordoba, graduate research assistant in statistics; and Xia Sun, graduate research assistant in marine, earth and atmospheric sciences.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.