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CSU Forecaster Calls For Below Average Hurricane Season

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - For those who dread the Atlantic hurricane season every year, there's some good news for 2015.

CBS4 meteorologist John Gerard, who is attending the National Hurricane Conference in Austin, Texas this week, had a chance to ask Dr. Phil Klotzbach from Colorado State University about the early indications for the 2015 hurricane season.

Klotzbach said there appears to be several factors that could reduce the overall number of hurricanes in the Atlantic this season.

"We are expecting to put out a forecast with a below average hurricane season due to a couple of factors. First of all, El Niño is going to be present during the hurricane season. El Niño is warmer than normal waters in the central and eastern tropical Pacific. What that does is increase the upper level westerly winds that tear apart storms trying to form in the Atlantic," said Klotzbach.

The most southern track of the jet stream in an El Niño season allows for the southern United States to see above-average rainfall which would be good news for drought-stricken areas from California to Texas.

In South Florida, residents need to be on guard for the potential for an active severe weather season beginning earlier than usual especially in April and May.

Atlantic Ocean conditions will also play a major role this year.

"The tropical Atlantic is also somewhat cooler than normal this year. Cooler than normal water means less fuel for the storms, higher pressures and a more stable atmosphere that tends to suppress the storm activity that hurricanes need to thrive," said Klotzbach.

Klotzbach said his team will issue their first official forecast for this year's hurricane season on April 9th. Over the last 30 years they have considered an average hurricane season to consist of 12 tropical storms, six to seven hurricanes of which three become major hurricanes reaching at least a Category 3 status on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale.

The 2014 Atlantic hurricane season was below-average. We saw nine tropical cyclones and eight named storms, the fewest named storms since 1997.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1st through November 30th.

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