NJ hurricane season begins — several big storms predicted for Atlantic
As a New Jersey resident, you're likely well aware by now that it only takes one storm to create catastrophic conditions.
June 1 marks the start of our region's hurricane season, and plenty of major storms are expected to be swirling out in the Atlantic. But it's too soon to tell whether any will cause any waves here or make a beeline for the Garden State.
Falling in line with other leading models, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in late May called for a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season. Twelve to 17 named storms are expected to pop up before the end of November, including five to nine hurricanes, NOAA reported.
The Weather Company predicts an average season for the region, the University of Arizona predicts activity that's slightly above normal, and both Accuweather and Colorado State University are calling for hurricane activity to be slightly below normal.
But the early forecasts are complicated by two conflicting conditions, and outlooks could be shifted as we move closer to the official start of summer.
Jon Miller, coastal processes specialist with New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium, noted that forecasts call for the development of El Niño conditions in the Pacific, which would reduce the likelihood of hurricane formation in the Atlantic.
"But the opposite is happening in the Atlantic," Miller said. "We have warmer than average sea surface temperatures. That generally leads to an increase in the number of hurricanes."
If one of those factors starts to become more dominant, Miller said, the number of storms predicted could move up or down.
Colorado State University says New Jersey has a 7% chance of seeing a hurricane make an impact here (defined as one or more hurricanes passing within 50 miles). The probability of a major hurricane impacting New Jersey is around 1%.
But hurricane strength isn't necessary in order to decimate property and lives. In September 2021, Ida had weakened to a tropical depression by the time it reached New Jersey and still caused billions of dollars' worth of damage and resulted in major disaster declarations in several counties.