While the tropics may be quiet, we are still smack dab in the middle of hurricane season.
NOAA's Climate Prediction Center has lowered its outlook for the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season in an update released earlier this morning. The revised forecast has six to ten named storms, with only one to four becoming hurricanes and possibly one becoming a major hurricane.
While the named storms aren't too far off from the preseason prediction of six to 11 storms and zero to two major hurricanes; it is significantly lower than the 3-6 hurricanes forecast in the preseason. Overall the updated outlook has the Atlantic hurricane season having a 90% chance of being below average this year.
But why? The main factor for lowering the outlook this year is El Niño. In addition to lowering the sea surface temperatures over the tropical Atlantic, the warmer ocean waters over the pacific tend to create more winds shear over the Atlantic. This wind shear interrupts the normal flow of tropical systems. In a tropical system, the air flows in a cylinder counterclockwise at all heights. With wind shear this flow is disrupted and the air flow is up and out in the direction of the upper level winds, making the formation of a circulation very difficult.
El Niño is expected to strengthen over the next several months, which will contribute to the inhibition of tropical systems this season
Now while the outlook may be below average, NOAA wants remind everyone that it only takes one storm to cause massive damage. So you definitely want to keep your eyes to the tropics all season long and be prepared no matter what the hurricane outlook predicts.