As parts of the U.S. and Caribbean continue to repair and rebuild following last year’s devastating hurricane season, forecasters are now saying that 2018 could be just as bad and it’s only a few months away.
The 2018 Atlantic basin hurricane season is expected to have above-average activity, according to Colorado State University researchers. The forecasters have predicted that there will be 14 named storms this season, including an estimated seven hurricanes. Additionally, they expect three storms to reach category 3 or higher, which qualifies them as a major hurricanes with wind speeds in excess of 110 miles per hour.
Overall, the report indicated that there is a 63 percent chance for at least one major hurricane to make landfall somewhere along the U.S. coastline and a 52 percent chance for a major hurricane to track into the Caribbean.
“As is the case with all hurricane seasons, coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them,” the forecasters wrote. “They should prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted.”
Indeed, the researchers noted that it is impossible to predict exactly how many hurricanes will occur this year at this point. Currently, the western tropical Atlantic is unusually warm, while water further east is anomalously cool, they said.
Around this time last year, the same forecasters predicted that the Atlantic region would experience only four hurricanes and two major hurricanes.
The 2017 hurricane season turned out to be one of the costliest and most destructive ever, thanks largely to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. All told there werer 10 hurricanes in the Atlantic region, six of which were category 3 or higher.
Harvey and Irma are estimated to have cost the U.S. economy $290 billion. Meanwhile, Maria was predicted to have resulted in as much as $95 billion in damages in Puerto Rico, according to Moody’s Analytics.