Saturday, June 02, 2018

The 'Official' Start of the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season: June 1

Greetings and salutations my friends! Welcome to the “official” start of the 2018 hurricane season and, of course, the day you always experience that rare and truly joyous feeling, knowing you have 6 yummy months of fantastically funny, extremely entertaining, and incredibly informative updates from me to look forward to. ;-)

But I fear this year will be a little tight on time so, with my second glass of wine in hand (for efficiency), I’ll jump right in with the Usual Suspects Seasonal Forecasts (including our pesky little Alberto):

Tropical Storm Risk (prediction date: 29 May): 9 named storms, 4 hurricanes, 1 major hurricanes.

Colorado State University (prediction date: 1 June): 14 named storms, 6 hurricanes, 2 major hurricanes.

UK Met Office (prediction date: 25 May): 11 named storms, 6 hurricanes.

NOAA (prediction date: 24 May): 10-16 named storms, 5-9 hurricanes, 1-4 major hurricanes.

It looks like everyone is calling for a slightly quieter season than last year, teetering around the edges of a below-average-to-average season. The 30-year long-term average number of named tropical storms is 12, the average number of hurricanes per year is 6.5, and the number of major hurricanes is 2. As I may have mentioned once or twice before (ahem, every year), I’m not a huge fan of attaching numbers to the seasonal forecasts as it’s still a bit of a lottery, but I am groovy with saying that it might be a quieter season. Wouldn’t that be nice? I’ll have lots of time to experiment on getting the right mix to my new favourite healthy evening beverage… a lychee martini:

(in case you don't know what one looks like)

You should all be prepared though because, just like Highlander (or Buffy), ‘there can be only one’ and that one could be enough! The most famous example was in 1992 which was a quiet season with a below-average number of storms: 7 named storms, 4 hurricanes, and only 1 major hurricane. But that 1 major hurricane was ‘the one’. It was the first storm of the season and formed quite late, in mid-August, and turned into the infamous Hurricane Andrew who hit Miami as a cat 5 causing over $27 billion in damage (in 1992!) and over 60 deaths. So be prepared. Make sure you have the usual hurricane supplies: water, wine, ice cream, a good book to read, wine, some candles, ice cream, a radio for mood, batteries, some more wine, mosquito repellent, and lots and lots of cans of lychees....

This wouldn’t be the Official Start of the Season if I didn’t go over my top 10 notes about this blog so you have a reminder of what you are getting into. As I appeared to have gathered a few more very intelligent and good-looking readers last year (current hits on the website is getting close to 230,500), these notes are mostly for you. And for my returning good-looking and very intelligent readers, remember, if you get bored the grass is growing somewhere out there. :-)

Top 10 things to note about this blog:

1. These updates are about fun, forecasting, and education... and tropical storms (and whatever else pops into my head that may, with some imagination and possibly after a glass or two of wine (or lychee martinis), fit those three words). It is just what I think.

2. I have a British sense of humoUr... you have been warned.

3. This is my hobby - sometimes you'll get one update a day, sometime four. If you are really lucky, you won't get any. If you wish to pay me to write, let me know and I'll send out updates as frequently as you like.

4. I hope you like Monty Python, Eddie Izzard, The IT Crowd. And other Funny Stuff.

5. If you have any questions (preferably about tropical storms), please ask. I will be happy to make up the answers for you. I can also cut and paste from previous entries (I’m very talented) so if I say something or use some "scientific jargon" (always thrilling!), please ask me about it.

6. I often write tongue-in-cheek, which sometimes hurts my cheek but what can you do? Gentle sarcasm, irony, and puns are all perfectly acceptable forms of communication. Unfortunately, they don't always translate in writing so please don't be offended - like Planet Earth, I'm "Mostly Harmless" (Douglas Adams). Have a piece of chocolate or a soothing cup of tea instead.

7. I'm sure every cloud in the Atlantic is exciting to some but, unless I'm bored, I'll usually write about those that I think have a chance of developing.

8. Despite what you may have heard, I am not always right. But then neither is anyone else. Forecasting is complicated. Sometimes the crystal ball gets smudges and you are all out of Windex to clean it and the store is closed. So PLEASE pay attention to the National Hurricane Center, National Weather Service and your Emergency Managers - especially when a storm is looming because they have the most up-to-date information!!

9. I stopped adding people to the listserve a few years ago so if you have friends who want to get updates, please can you direct them to the website ( This is part of my very complicated top-secret grand plan to take over the world (bwa haa haa - evil laughter in case you were wondering).

10. I confess I am a twit. I am on twitter (@jyovianstorm). Twitter is cool. Just like bow-ties are cool (Dr. Who). I will post these updates on Twitter, but I’ll also tweet about storms in other basins, my job, other people’s jobs, cool science, goofy things etc. so if you want to catch up between updates, that’s the place to lurk.

Finally, a quick note about the old work-o-rama: XPRIZE is planning on a Natural Disaster Prediction XPRIZE! Yay! Finally, right? :-) :-) (this is double smiley-face worthy!). This time, we are running an experiment and I’d love it if you could help us... for the first time this year we are running a competition for anyone (meaning YOU!) to submit an idea for a Prize Design. What do you think the rules should be for the teams if we had a Natural Disaster Prediction XPRIZE? It can be earthquakes or tropical storms. You can click here and get more information or go to the overview page: Please share this with anyone you think has an interest in helping us to improve the technology related to Natural Disaster Prediction. And if Natural Disaster Prediction is not your thing, first, why are you even reading this??! And second, we have four other very interesting topics that you can design a prize for on the HeroX overview page: Saving Coral Reefs (my second favourite of course), Off-Grid Energy Access, Feeding the Next Billion, and Lifting Farmers out of Poverty.

Oh, and finally finally (promise), they let me out of the office to go on NPR Science Friday today! ;-)  to talk about the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE and the wonders and importance of mapping the deep-sea floor. (For those outside the US: National Public Radio is an American media organization and NPR Science Friday is aired across the US). We had one of the amazing nine final Teams in the competition on there too.

More when the next storm appears. Hopefully in 2019... ;-)


These remarks are just what I think/see regarding tropical storms (my storm blog). If you are making an evacuation decision, please heed your local emergency management and the National Hurricane Center's official forecast. This is not an official forecast.