Hurricane Season Predicted To Be Active

Published 13 years ago, updated 4 years ago

As reported by Cruising Compass

An “active to extremely active” hurricane season is expected for the Atlantic Basin this year, according to the seasonal outlook issued Thursday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s Climate Prediction Center – a division of the National Weather Service.

Across the entire Atlantic Basin for the six-month season, which began June 1, NOAA is projecting a 70-percent probability of the following ranges:

14 to 23 named storms (top winds of 39 mph or higher), including:

8 to 14 hurricanes (top winds of 74 mph or higher), of which:

3 to 7 could be major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; winds of at least 111 mph).

“If this outlook holds true, this season could be one of the more active on record,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “The greater likelihood of storms brings an increased risk of a landfall. In short, we urge everyone to be prepared.”

The outlook ranges exceed the seasonal average of 11 named storms, six hurricanes, and two major hurricanes, according to NOAA. Expected factors supporting this outlook are:

Upper atmospheric winds conducive for storms. Wind shear, which can tear apart storms, will be weaker since El Nino in the eastern Pacific has dissipated. Strong wind shear helped suppress storm development during the 2009 hurricane season.

Warm Atlantic Ocean water. Sea surface temperatures are expected to remain above average where storms often develop and move across the Atlantic. Record warm temperatures – up to four degrees Fahrenheit above average – are now present in this region.

High activity era continues. Since 1995, the tropical multi-decadal signal has brought favorable ocean and atmospheric conditions in sync, leading to more active hurricane seasons. Eight of the last 15 seasons rank in the top ten for the most named storms with 2005 in first place with 28 named storms.

“The main uncertainty in this outlook is how much above normal the season will be. Whether or not we approach the high end of the predicted ranges depends partly on whether or not La Nina develops this summer,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “At present we are in a neutral state, but conditions are becoming increasingly favorable for La Nina to develop.”


Sea Surface Temperatures

According to WunderBlog Weather Expert Dr. Jeff Masters, “I very much doubt that we are in for a repeat of the unprecedented violence of the Hurricane Season of 2005, with its 28 named storms, 15 hurricanes, and 7 intense hurricanes. While sea surface temperatures are currently warmer this year than in 2005, that year featured some very unusual atmospheric circulation patterns, with a very strong ridge of high pressure over the eastern U.S., record drought in the Amazon, and very low surface pressures over the Atlantic. A repeat of 2005’s weather patterns is unlikely, though I am expecting we will get at least four major hurricanes this year. An average year sees just two major hurricanes.

Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) are at record high levels over the tropical Atlantic between Africa and Central America this year. SSTs averaged more than 1 degree above average over the entire tropical Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. Note the large region of below average SSTs along the Equatorial Pacific off the coast of South America, signaling the possible start of a La Nina episode.

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