NOAA trims forecast for busy hurricane season

Aug 08, 2013 by Seth Borenstein

This Atlantic hurricane season may not be quite as busy as U.S. forecasters once thought, but they still warn of an unusually active and potentially dangerous few months to come.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration updated its hurricane season forecast Thursday, trimming back the number of hurricanes they expect this year to between six and nine. That is a couple less than they predicted back in May.

The forecast calls for three to five of those hurricanes to be major, with winds greater than 110 mph (175 kph). The updated forecast also predicts 13 to 19 named storms this year. Both of those predictions are just one less forecast three months ago.

The chance that 2013 will be busier than normal remains at 70 percent. A normal year has 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major storms.

"Make no bones about it, those ranges indicate a lot of activity still to come," said lead seasonal hurricane forecaster Gerry Bell of NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. "We're coming to the peak of hurricane season now."

Hurricane season starts in June and runs until the end of November, but peak hurricane season runs from mid-August to mid-October.

So far, there have been four named storms, the last one being Tropical Storm Dorian. Four storms in June and July is more than normal, when usually there are just one or two, Bell said.

Bell is predicting a busier-than-normal season because of larger that have been in place since about 1995. Atlantic waters are warmer than normal, wind patterns are just right, and there has been more rain in West Africa. This fits with a larger 25-to-40-year cycle of hurricane activity that meteorologists have seen over the decades.

Bell slightly reduced the earlier forecast because a La Nina —the cooling of the central Pacific that acts as the flip side of El Nino—is not happening and that usually increases . While the Atlantic is as much as half a degree Fahrenheit warmer than normal, it's not as warm as some of the busier years, nor is it predicted to be, Bell said.

The forecasts don't include where storms might land, if any place.

Explore further: The emergence of modern sea ice in the Arctic Ocean, 2.6 million years ago

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Volcano in south Japan erupts, disrupting flights

5 hours ago

A volcano in southern Japan is blasting out chunks of magma in the first such eruption in 22 years, causing flight cancellations and prompting warnings to stay away from its crater.

Questions of continental crust

Nov 27, 2014

Geological processes shape the planet Earth and are in many ways essential to our planet's habitability for life. One important geological process is plate tectonics – the drifting, colliding and general ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.