Hurricane forecast announced at weather conference

Port Isabel-South Padre Press

The 2018 hurricane forecast was officially unveiled on South Padre Island last week during the National Tropical Weather Conference.

The announcement, by Dr. Philip Klotzbach, or Colorado State University, was one of several highlights of the conference, which has taken place on the Island for the past six years.

The early forecast calls for 14 named storms, seven of which are predicted to become hurricanes. Of those, three are expected to be major hurricanes. It’s a slightly higher than average prediction, but is on par with last year’s forecast, said Tim Smith, chief meteorologist for local ABC affiliate, KRGV.

“That’s not much different than last year’s forecast,” Smith said during a phone interview Wednesday.

As with last year’s prediction, weather experts expect an El Niño system to form, which could affect Atlantic storm activity, Smith said. However, an El Niño system failed to form last year, which lead to last year’s busy storm season. “This year there’s some hint of maybe a weak El Niño,” Smith said. “If it doesn’t form, then the numbers could be high again.”

He added that forecasters got their first indications the 2017 season would be rough when an El Niño had failed to form by June.

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