Visualization of Hurricane Sandy’s winds (NASA)

Expect an above average Atlantic hurricane season say leading hurricane researchers, but slightly less active than once thought.

Phil Klotzbach and William Gray of Colorado State University cut back their prediction for the total number of hurricanes and major hurricanes (category 3 or higher) by one, compared to forecasts made in April and June.

They are now forecasting 18 total named storms (including the four which have already formed), 8 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes (category 3 or higher), compared to 18, 9 and 4, respectively in earlier outlooks. Most notably, they scaled back their prediction for the season’s Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) – a combined measure of the energy generated by the season’s crop of storms – from 165 to 142.

Klotzbach and Gray said an unexpected cooling of sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the eastern Atlantic prompted the revisions.

“These cooler SSTs are typically associated with less favorable thermodynamic conditions which we believe could cause slightly less TC activity than expected earlier,” they wrote in their report released today.

The duo plan to publish updated outlooks every two weeks into October.  Hurricane season spans from June 1 to November 30.  So far, there have been 4 named storms (but no hurricanes) which have produced an ACE of 6.6, which is close to the normal ACE of 7.1 at this point in the season.

Related: Core of Atlantic hurricane season has arrived, but quiet for now

Dorian attempting to rebound

The remnants of one-time tropical storm Dorian, the season’s fourth named storm, are meandering off the coast of Melbourne, Florida and producing a few rain showers in the vicinity.


Early morning panorama looking east from Miami. Offshore thunderstorms associated with Dorian’s remnants are producing ominous skies and wispy outflow. (Brian McNoldy)

The National Hurricane Center says there’s a 30 percent chance it could redevelop into a tropical depression or storm in the next day or two, as it jogs north and northeast.  Other than the showers it throws back at Florida, it’s not considered a threat. Eventually, it will get pushed out to sea by a front moving through.