The 2018 Pacific typhoon season runs throughout 2018, though most tropical cyclones typically develop between May and October. The season’s first named storm, Bolaven, developed on January 3. The season’s first typhoon, Jelawat, reached typhoon status on March 29, and became the first super typhoon of the year the next day.
On March 21, the Vietnamese National Center for Hydro Meteorological forecasts (VNCHMF) predicted that roughly 12 to 13 tropical cyclones would affect Vietnam during 2018, which is above average. On March 23, the Hong Kong Observatory predicted that five to eight tropical cyclones would come within 500 kilometers of Hong Kong, which is normal to above normal. On May 11, the Tropical Storm Risk (TSR) issued its first forecast for the season, predicting that the 2018 season would be a slightly above average, producing 27 named storms, 17 typhoons, and nine intense typhoons.
The East Pacific hurricane season got off to a fast start as Tropical Depression One-E formed several days before the official start of the season, slated for May 15. This could be a sign of things to come, as AccuWeather forecasters are predicting a slightly above normal number of tropical storms and hurricanes across the East Pacific basin this season.
The official AccuWeather forecast calls for 16 to 19 named tropical storms, with 8 to12 of these storms becoming hurricanes.
Major hurricanes, reaching Category 3 strength or higher, are also expected to be above normal with four to six of these powerful storms predicted for the upcoming season. Above-normal ocean temperatures are expected across the main development region of the basin throughout the entirety of the season.
Wind shear is another important factor in tropical development. Periods of high wind shear could limit development at times, especially early in the season.
While a neutral phase of ENSO is expected for much of the season, a late-season change could have a big impact. If the ENSO pattern transitions from neutral to El Niño later in the season, then decreasing vertical wind shear could lead to more favorable environmental conditions for not only tropical development, but also more intense tropical cyclones.
Despite an above-normal number of tropical cyclones, only three landfalls into Mexico are predicted for this season.
Photo: By Keith Edkins: Created using WikiProject Tropical cyclones/Tracks.