2009 Hurricane Season Should Contain No Surprises, Researchers Say

Apr 09, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Researchers at North Carolina State University believe that 2009 will bring a near-normal hurricane season, with storm activity in the Atlantic basin and the Gulf of Mexico slightly above the averages of past 50 years, but staying in line with those from the past 20 years.

According to Dr. Lian Xie, professor of marine, earth and atmospheric sciences, and collaborators Dr. Montserrat Fuentes, professor of statistics, and graduate student Danny Modlin, 2009 should see 11 to 14 named storms forming in the Atlantic basin, which includes the entire , the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.

Of those named storms, six to eight may grow strong enough to become hurricanes, and there is a 45 percent chance that one of those storms will make landfall along the coast of the southeastern United States as a .

As for the Gulf, Xie's data indicate the likelihood of three to five named storms forming, of which one to three will become hurricanes. The researchers expect two to four named storms to make landfall along the Gulf, and there is a 70 percent chance that at least one of those storms will be of hurricane status.

"The data show that the number of storms this year will not vary significantly from those of the past 20 years; in fact, 2009's numbers are slightly lower than last year's prediction of 13 to 15 named storms," Xie says.

Xie's methodology evaluates data from the last 100 years on Atlantic Ocean hurricane positions and intensity, as well as other variables including weather patterns and sea surface temperatures, in order to predict how many storms will form and where they will make landfall.
The Atlantic runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.

Provided by North Carolina State University

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