Memorial Day is here. The kids are out of school. That means it's time for a change of season. Hurricane Season 2016 will officially begin on Wednesday June 1. The past few months have seen some of the most noted scientist in the field of tropical meteorology plotting and planning and prognosticating just how this season might unfold. Now comes the official word for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

NOAA's 2016 tropical forecast is calling for what might be considered an average season forecast. A typical tropical season might see 12 named storms. The NOAA forecast is right in that ballpark. Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, NOAA Administrator, suggest that the season most likely will produce between 10 and 16 named storms.

4 to 8 of those are expected to become hurricanes and between one and 4 of those are hurricanes are expected to grow to category three or higher.

Sullivan's comments to the Louisiana Radio Network suggest that the NOAA forecast is right in line with what researchers at Colorado State are predicting for the season. The noted scientist at CSU are suggesting 13 named storms this season.

The really tricky part of the forecast equation has to do with sea surface temperatures. Oddly enough it's not so much the temperature of the water in the Gulf of Mexico as it is the ocean temperatures of the Pacific Ocean. These fluctuations in the Pacific are often referred to as El Nino and La Nina. 

So, there is uncertainty as to whether these forces will be reinforcing each other or competing with respect to tropical storm formation.

We have been in a rather strong El Nino patter for the past couple of tropical seasons. That is why the seasons have seemed so calm. This year it looks as if the transition to La Nina will be the determining factor in tropical development in the Atlantic Basin.

In the Atlantic, La Nina favors more hurricane activity, but model predictions show uncertainty as to how strong the La Nina impacts will be.

Obviously predicting what Mother Nature will or won't do is never going to be an exact science. That's why we always encourage you to take this time to review your hurricane plan. It only takes one hurricane to make a tropical season memorable.


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