FOX 35 Chief Meteorologist
LAKE MARY, Fla.(WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) — The 2015 hurricane season is shaping up to be one of the quietest hurricane seasons in some 45 years, with a mere 50 percent of normal activity.
The 2015 forecast by the Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology team, including Dr. Bill Gray, calls for seven named storms — tropical storms or hurricanes — with one of those becoming a major hurricane (Category 3 or greater).
That would make 2015 as inactive as 2014, 1993, 1991, 1987 and 1957. The typical six-month hurricane season generates an average of 12 named storms.
So what's going on? What happened to the predictions of 20 to 30 named storms per season as our globe continues to warm and the oceans start to bubble? I remember speakers at weather and hurricane conferences warning we were doomed in the years ahead.
What's happened is that the Earth is warming, but our hurricane computer models weren't calibrated quite right 20 years ago.
It's evident to me that the science of meteorology is the poster child for "chaos theory." Our warming world — the average global temperature is the highest in 136 years — is starting a domino effect that is causing long-lasting shifts in global pressure patterns and ocean circulations.
These changes are producing much higher atmospheric pressures across the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean. This higher pressure creates a sinking motion in the atmosphere, which causes slight warming and drying of the air. That puts the kibosh on storm growth. Developing tropical waves need rising air that encourages cloud growth, lower pressures and stronger storms.
High pressure also acts to create stronger winds, which pull up colder waters across the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean. Colder water cuts off the food supply for developing tropical systems in the form of less heat energy. And high pressure differences across the Atlantic basin can generate more wind shear, which is hostile for hurricanes .
These higher pressures are expected to persist through the summer.
Keep in mind that a quiet hurricane season does not necessarily mean boring weather. We've had many seasons with minimal hurricanes but extreme weather in the form of flooding and tornadoes in Central Florida. Remember Tropical Storm Fay in 2008? It spent seven days over Florida, generating tornadoes and 11 inches of rain in Melbourne, flooding hundreds of homes .
Let's make sure we stay prepared for the potential of at least one tropical system striking this season, because it only takes one system to make for a bad year.
If you did not have a chance to pick up the Sunday edition of the Orlando Sentinel, we are providing a link to download your very own copy of the 2015 Hurricane Survival Guide, and be sure to bookmark our website, www.OrlandoHurricane.com, where you can track the Tropics and get the latest on any active storms.
Click here to download your copy of our Hurricane Guide (PDF).