Hurricane prediction experts at Colorado State University have reinforced their expectation that the Atlantic will see above-average hurricane activity this season.
The announcement, released Friday morning, comes as the National Weather Service keeps an eye on a broad low-pressure system producing a large area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms several hundred miles south and southwest of the Cape Verde Islands.
The Weather Service has said the westward-tracking system has an 80 percent chance of forming into a tropical cyclone within the next few days.
According to the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State, there is a 51 percent chance of a major hurricane tracking into the Caribbean this year.
The seasonal average in the last century has been 42 percent, the report said.
The university’s forecast suggests a 37 percent chance that a hurricane will track within 100 miles of the territory, and a 16 percent chance it will be a major hurricane.
A major hurricane is defined as one rated Category 3, 4 or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale.
A Category 3 storm registers winds of 111-129 mph; a Category 4 storm registers winds of 130-156 mph; and a Category 5 storm has winds of or greater than 157 mph.
“Everyone should realize that it is impossible to precisely predict this season’s hurricane activity in early August,” wrote research scientist Philip Klotzbach. “There is, however, much curiosity as to how global ocean and atmospheric features are presently arranged as regards to the probability of an active or inactive hurricane season.
“We issue these forecasts to satisfy the curiosity of the general public and to bring attention to the hurricane problem,” he said.
Klotzbach said residents should be prepared.
“Obviously, it just takes that one storm to make it an active season for you,” he said.