2017 Atlantic Hurricane
By Jayleen R. Heft, PropertyCasualty360.com
It’s that time of year again: Time for homeowners, business owners and the property and casualty insurance
industry to start preparing for the annual
Atlantic hurricane season.
Colorado State University hurricane
researchers are predicting a slightly below-average Atlantic hurricane season
in 2017, citing the potential development of El Niño as well as recent anomalous cooling in the tropical Atlantic as
2 major hurricanes predicted
The CSU Tropical Meteorology Project team is predicting 11 named storms
during the Atlantic hurricane season,
which runs from June 1 to November 30.
Of those, researchers expect four to become hurricanes and two to reach major
hurricane strength (Saffir/Simpson category 3-4-5) with sustained winds of 111
miles per hour or greater.
The team bases its forecasts on over
60 years of historical data that include
Atlantic sea surface temperatures, sea
level pressures, vertical wind shear levels
(the change in wind direction and speed
with height in the atmosphere), El Niño
(warming of waters in the central and
eastern tropical Pacific), and other factors.
So far, the 2017 hurricane season is exhibiting characteristics similar to 1957, 1965,
1972, 1976, and 2002. “1957, 1965, 1976 and
2002 had slightly below-average hurricane
activity, while 1972 was a well below-average season,” said Phil Klotzbach, research
scientist in the Department of Atmospheric
Science and lead author of the report.
Less active hurricane season
than last year
The team predicts that 2017 hurricane
activity will be about 85 percent of the
average season. By comparison, 2016’s
hurricane activity was about 135 percent
of the average season.
This is the 34th year that the CSU hurricane research team has issued the Atlantic
basin seasonal hurricane forecast. Recently,
the Tropical Meteorology Project team has
expanded to include Michael Bell, associate professor in the Department of Atmospheric Science. William Gray launched
the report in 1984 and continued to be an
author on them until his death last year.
Bell cautioned coastal residents to take
proper precautions. “It takes only one
storm near you to make this an active
season,” Bell said.
The report also includes the probability of
major hurricanes making landfall:
• 42 percent for the entire U.S. coast-
line (average for the last century is 52
• 24 percent for the U.S. East Coast including the Florida peninsula (
average for the last century is 31 percent).
• 24 percent for the Gulf Coast from
the Florida panhandle westward to
Brownsville (average for the last century is 30 percent).
• 34 percent for the Caribbean (average
for the last century is 42 percent).