CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
January 21, 2019
Forward Thinking

NOAA forecasters predict normal to above-normal 2018 hurricane season

U.S. agency predicts that there will be a less active Atlantic storm season this year compared to last.

U.S. government storm forecasters yesterday issued their predictions for the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, saying there is a 35-percent chance of more hurricanes than normal, a 40-percent probability of a near-normal season, and a 25-percent chance of a less-active season.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted a 70-percent likelihood of 10 to 16 "named" storms with winds of 39 mph. Of those, 5 to 9 will become hurricanes, defined as storms of 74 mph winds or higher, NOAA predicted. Of those hurricanes, 1 to 4 will be categorized as "major" events with winds of 111 mph or higher, according to agency forecasts.

The average Atlantic hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which 6 become hurricanes; 3 of those become major hurricanes. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.

NOAA said it will update its outlook in early August, just before the peak of the hurricane season. The agency said it is equipped this season with new and advanced tools that should improve the accuracy of its forecasts.

Kathy Fulton, executive director of the American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN), which connects logistics resources with organizations involved in disaster recovery efforts, said in an e-mail today that NOAA's forecasts on when a storm will make landfall have generally proven accurate, and that the agency's capabilities are improving with better technology and processes at its disposal.

Last year, the Texas Gulf Coast, Florida, and Puerto Rico were battered with three powerful hurricanes—Harvey, Irma, and Maria—that hit one after the other. "The devastating hurricane season of 2017 (has) demonstrated the necessity for prompt and accurate hurricane forecasts," Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a statement. NOAA is part of the U.S. Commerce Department.

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