JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - One of the most recognized hurricane forecasting groups is calling for a "slightly below average" hurricane season in 2017.
Colorado State University officially released their 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Forecast, which calls for 11 named storms during hurricane season (June 1 - November 30), four of which will become hurricanes and two of which would be considered "major" storms (Category 3 or above with sustained winds of 111 miles an hour or greater).
The university study cites a "weak to moderate El Niño" forming. In the Caribbean and tropical Atlantic, El Niño increases upper-level winds that tend to knock down or weaken tropical systems.
A 'normal' hurricane season sees 12 named storms with 6.5 becoming hurricanes on average.
The group also created a Landfall Probability Website where you can check the probability of a storm actually making landfall where you live.
For example, we checked the site for Duval County, which has a 0.4 percent of one or more hurricanes making landfall this year in the county and a 0.9 percent of a named storm making landfall.
Of course, a storm does not have to make landfall to cause a dramatic impact on your county. Hurricane Matthew did not make landfall on the First Coast and was about 50 miles offshore at its closest pass to our area.
The study suggests there is a 45 percent chance of a hurricane impacting Florida and a 18 percent chance of a major storm.
So far, the 2017 hurricane season is exhibiting characteristics similar to 1957, 1965, 1972, 1976, and 2002, according to the CSU report.
“1957, 1965, 1976 and 2002 had slightly below-average hurricane activity, while 1972 was a well below-average season,” said Phil Klotzbach, research scientist in the Department of Atmospheric Science and lead author of the report, in a press release.