Busy huricane season predicted

Wednesday 03rd Aug 2011 by theWeather Club

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting a busy hurricane season this year. According to their calculations the Atlantic basin is expected to see above-normal hurricane activity, according to the seasonal outlook issued by NOAA's Climate Prediction Centre.

Across the entire Atlantic Basin for the six-month season NOAA is predicting the following ranges; 12 to 18 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), which includes 3 to 6 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher). Each of these ranges has a 70% likelihood, and indicate that activity will exceed the seasonal average of 11 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes.

According to NOAA analysts several climate factors considered for this potential increased activity are:

Warm Atlantic Ocean water. Sea surface temperatures where storms often develop and move across the Atlantic are up to two degrees Fahrenheit warmer-than-average.

The continuing high activity era. Since 1995, the tropical atmospheric patterns have brought ocean and atmospheric conditions conducive to storm development into sync, leading to more active Atlantic hurricane seasons.

La Niña, which continues to weaken in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, is expected to dissipate later this month or in June, but its impacts such as reduced wind shear are expected to continue into the hurricane season.

"In addition to multiple climate factors, seasonal climate models also indicate an above-normal season is likely, and even suggest we could see activity comparable to some of the active seasons since 1995," said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA's Climate Prediction Centre.

However NOAA's seasonal hurricane outlook cannot predict where and when any of these storms may hit. Landfall is dictated by weather patterns in place at the time the storm approaches. For each storm, NOAA's National Hurricane Centre forecasts how these weather patterns affect the storm track, intensity and landfall potential.