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HOME > Expert Assessments > Atlantic Hurricane Outlook

NOAA: 2000 Atlantic Hurricane Outlook

Issued 10 May 2000
An updated outlook will be issued in early August.

Realtime monitoring of tropical Atlantic conditions  can be obtained here

Press Release

1. The current global-scale atmospheric circulation pattern is conducive to an above-average (active) Atlantic hurricane season during 2000, by favoring reduced vertical wind shear across the western tropical Atlantic and Caribbean Sea, and easterly winds from Africa that are conducive to the development of tropical storms and hurricanes.

2. Historically, when similar atmospheric conditions were present in an active hurricane era, 75% of the Atlantic hurricane seasons featured above-average activity.

3. The continuation of the current atmospheric anomalies depends partly on the ongoing La Niņa in the tropical Pacific. A consensus of the latest numerical and statistical model forecasts indicate a continuation of La Niņa conditions at least through July. Thereafter, the forecasts tend to diverge, but a majority indicate either near-normal or weak La Niņa conditions continuing to the end of the year. However, we expect that even if La Niņa fades by late summer, the existing tropical rainfall anomalies will not be totally destroyed, and therefore will not unduly impact the favorable large-scale atmospheric circulation pattern that currently exists. Another contribution to conditions favorable for an active season comes from the above-average sea surface temperatures that have persisted since 1995 across large portions of the North Atlantic.

4. Typical features of active (above-average) hurricane years:

Most of the above-average activity will occur during the peak months of the season: August– October.

The season often features at least two of the following three: a) at least eleven tropical storms, b) seven or more of which become hurricanes, and c) three or more of which become major hurricanes.

Overall activity is very high. Overall activity includes measures of storm duration and intensity, as well as storm numbers, hurricane numbers, etc.

Many of the storms are expected to develop over the tropical Atlantic, and then move westward toward the Caribbean Islands or the United States, thereby putting coastal areas at an increased risk of experiencing a tropical storm or hurricane. In active years the Caribbean Islands and the United States each experience an average of 2-3 hurricane strikes. For the Caribbean Islands, this frequency of hurricane landfall is much larger than that which is observed in inactive years.

Additional discussion

Background Information


1) This Outlook should be used as a guide of overall expected activity for the Atlantic basin. No outlook can give certainty as to whether a particular locality will be impacted by a tropical storm or hurricane in any given year. Residents and government agencies of coastal or near_coastal regions should always maintain hurricane preparedness efforts regardless of the overall outlook for a given year.

2) Far more damage can be done by one major hurricane hitting a heavily populated area than by several major hurricanes hitting sparsely populated areas or, of course, not making landfall at all. Because of this, hurricane spawned disasters can occur even in relatively inactive years. Also, increased activity in a given year does not automatically mean increased storm-related damage.

3) Although major hurricanes tend to be the deadliest and costliest tropical systems, disasters can and indeed do occur due to flooding from less intense hurricanes and tropical storms.

4) Our expectation of above-average activity during 2000 is not based on global warming associated with elevated carbon dioxide levels.



This outlook is not designed to compete with hurricane outlooks issued by groups outside of NOAA. We gratefully acknowledge the pioneering research of Dr. William Gray and others, which has significantly increased scientific understanding of the association between the various climate factors (particularly the El Niņo/ La Niņa cycle) and the atmospheric circulation features that affect Atlantic basin hurricane activity. We also acknowledge the leading role that Dr. Gray and colleagues at the Colorado State University have played in developing and providing seasonal forecasts of Atlantic basin tropical storm and hurricane activity.



Dr. Lixion Avila, Meteorologist, National Hurricane Center; ph: 305-229-4470;

Dr. Gerald Bell, Meteorologist, Climate Prediction Center: ph: 301-763-8000 x 7536;

Dr. Muthuvel Chelliah, Physical Scientist, Climate Prediction Center: ph: 301-763-8000 x 7546;

Mr. Stanley Goldenberg, Meteorologist, Hurricane Research Division: ph: 305-361-4362;

Dr. Christopher Landsea, Meteorologist, Hurricane Research Division: ph: 305-361-4357;

Dr. Richard Pasch, Meteorologist, National Hurricane Center; ph: 305-229-4411;

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Page last modified: May 10, 2000
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