We are still 45 days away from the start of the hurricane season but the outlooks are coming out. The most well recognized forecaster, Dr. William Gray, from Colorado State University currently forecasts less activity than in previous years based on several factors. The most important factor is that a weak El Nino is likely to develop this summer and fall. El Nino conditions mean warmer water in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. The warming of these waters tends to increase wind shear across the Atlantic Ocean. Wind shear rips apart developing tropical systems thus reducing the chance for these systems to become hurricanes. Still, Dr. Gray and his team expect about 12 named storms this year, of which 6 will become hurricanes. Only 2 storms are expected to reach the category 3 or higher level. Winds in a category 3 storm are sustained at 111 mph or higher. The chances for a hurricane hit along some portion of the East Coast hit are about 50/50. Of course, we all know that it only takes one storm to create a problem. For now let's enjoy the spring and I'll give another update as the season begins on June 1.
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