GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – The tropics are quiet right now, but we have a long way to go before hurricane season is over. And it’s a season that may be more active than initially thought.
NOAA’s 2017 hurricane outlook calls for a normal or slightly above normal number of named storms. This forecast factored in El Niño which was expected to develop by late summer 2017.
El Niño is the warming of the ocean waters in the Eastern Pacific Ocean that shifts weather patterns across the globe.
One impact for the tropical Atlantic is an increase in winds, especially in the middle and upper levels of the atmosphere. As a cluster of storms moves west off the African coast, these winds will shear off the tops of the storms, in effect preventing the storms from organizing into a tropical system.
El Niño is now expected to be delayed a few months not coming until late fall 2017.
Without this higher wind shear, these clusters of storms in the tropics will have one less thing preventing them from developing into a tropical storm or hurricane.
Localized wind shear is already having an impact on the cluster of storms that once was Tropical Depression Four. Strong winds caused the storm to fizzle last week and continue to prevent it from organizing back into a tropical system.
NOAA will update the hurricane outlook in early August.