It’s not even June 1 and the Atlantic basin has already recorded two tropical systems in 2016—Hurricane Alex back in January, and Tropical Storm Bonnie last weekend. Some readers might be concerned that this augurs a particularly busy hurricane season, which officially begins Tuesday, but that is not necessarily the case.
That’s because there is little to no correlation between seasons with at least one tropical cyclone (tropical depression, tropical storm, or a hurricane) prior to June 1 in a calendar year, and that season’s overall activity. The following chart, with data since 1950, was recently shared by The Weather Channel’s Michael Lowry.
As I wrote earlier this month, there are mixed climatic signals about Atlantic activity during the coming season. This analysis was backed by the recent forecast for the season issued by NOAA for the coming season. NOAA forecaster Gerry Bell highlighted three difference scenarios for the 2016 Atlantic season:
Scenario 1: Above-normal season most likely if both La Niña and the conditions associated with the high-activity era and warm AMO develop
Scenario 2: Near-normal season most likely if La Niña develops and the conditions associated with a low-activity era and cool AMO also develop.
Scenario 3: Below-normal season likelihood increases if La Niña does not develop and conditions typically associated with a low-activity era and cool AMO do develop.
Let me translate that for you: We’re not sure what’s going to happen. We could see a really busy season, a normal season, or a relatively quiet season. (I’m betting on a near-normal, or slightly above normal season in terms of total named storms). At the end of the day, if a storm affects Texas, it doesn’t really matter.