There will likely be normal levels of tropical storm activity over the next two weeks as the Atlantic Ocean hurricane season peaks, Colorado State University forecasters said Thursday.
An upper-level trough in the atmosphere should continue to bring near-normal to above-normal wind shear over the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean, forecasters said.
“This increased shear is likely due to a vigorous upper troposphere tropical trough which was a major reason why the Atlantic hurricane season was not as active as expected,” the forecast said.
Prior to the start of the season on June 1, forecasters had said above-normal sea surface temperatures and weak wind shear in the southern United States were expected to trigger an above-average hurricane season.
On August 4, Colorado state forecasters announced four major hurricanes with sustained winds of at least 111 miles per hour (178.6 km/h).
The August outlook also calls for eight hurricanes, including the four major ones, out of 18 named tropical storms.
Tropical Storm Danielle formed in the Atlantic on Thursday but is not expected to pose a risk to the United States.
Danielle is the fourth tropical storm to form this year in the Atlantic. No storms developed in August, a historically active month.
Tropical storms are closely watched, especially in the Gulf of Mexicobecause of the threat they pose to off the coast oil and natural gas production in the United States and Mexico.
Offshore operations in the US-regulated northern Gulf of Mexico account for 15% of total crude oil production and 5% of total dry natural gas production.
In addition, 47% of crude oil refining capacity in the United States and 51% of natural gas processing plant capacity is located along the Gulf Coast.
Hurricane season ends on November 30.
(Reuters – Reporting by Erwin Seba Montage by Bernadette Baum)