Looking Back at a More Active than Predicted 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season

The 2018 hurricane season was the first since 2008 to have four named storms active at the same time.


FLORIDA, United States, Monday December 10, 2018
– The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season officially ended on November 30th after packing a punch, producing an above average 15 named storms, including eight hurricanes of which two were major. An average season has 12 named storms, six hurricanes, and three major hurricanes.

For the fourth consecutive year, hurricane activity began prior to the official June 1st start of the season, with Tropical Storm Alberto forming on May 25th. Alberto made landfall in northern Florida and travelled as far north as the Great Lakes as a tropical depression.

For the most part, the Caribbean was spared, but the United States felt the brunt of several storms, particularly from Florence and Michael which caused significant damage in the southeastern part of the country.

A record seven named storms—Alberto, Beryl, Debby, Ernesto, Joyce, Leslie and Oscar—were classified as subtropical at some point. The previous record of five subtropical storms occurred in 1969. A subtropical storm is a named storm that has tropical and non-tropical characteristics. All subtropical storms this season eventually transitioned into a tropical storm, with three—Beryl, Leslie and Oscar—eventually becoming hurricanes.

The 2018 hurricane season was the first since 2008 to have four named storms active at the same time—Florence, Helene, Isaac and Joyce.

“The 2018 season fell within the NOAA’s [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s] predicted ranges in our pre-season outlook issued in late May. However, the overall season was more active than predicted in the updated outlook issued in early August,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Centre.

“Warmer Atlantic Ocean temperatures, a stronger west-African monsoon and the fact that El Nino did not form in time to suppress the season helped to enhance storm development.”

With lessons learned from the 2018 hurricane season still fresh in memory, the NOAA says now is the time to make note of ways to improve family hurricane plans for next year.

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