Barbados, Thursday April 11, 2013 – The June 1 start of the Atlantic hurricane
season may seem a long way off, but judging from several early forecasts
released this week, the Caribbean would be well advised to prepare for some
pretty wild weather.
bad news is that Colorado State University (CSU) weather gurus Phil Klotzbach
and William Gray are predicting a turbulent, above-average storm season. The
worse news is that several other prominent climatologists agree.
CSU tropical research experts, in a pre-season forecast released yesterday,
predicted 18 named storms, including nine hurricanes, four of which would be
compares with an average season’s tally of 12 storms, including six hurricanes,
three with winds greater than 110 mph.
to the two CSU climatologists, the tropical Atlantic is unusually warm and El
Niño, the atmospheric force that inhibits storm formation, is unlikely to
emerge this season, which runs through November 30.
El Nino is associated with stronger vertical shear across the tropical
Atlantic, creating conditions less conducive for storm formation,” Klotzbach
two experts also noted that the Atlantic basin remains in an era of tropical
intensity, where more hurricanes tend to form, the result of a natural cycle.
his comments on El Nino, Jeff Masters, chief meteorologist of online weather
site Weather Underground, said years where neither El Niño nor its polar
opposite, La Niña, emerge can be highly active.
the neutral El Niño year of 2005?” he said, referring to the season when 28
storms, including 15 hurricanes, formed.
the numbers of storms Klotzbach and Gray
predict are rarely right on target, they have accurately predicted when a
season would be more or less active than normal in four of the past five years.
two CSU experts were off-track with their initial prediction for 2012 last
April, calling for a considerably slower than normal season. Like other
prediction teams, they thought El Niño would arise by the heart of the season.
were all wrong, however, and the year ended with 19 named storms, including 10
hurricanes, making it the third busiest season on record.
forecasters Tropical Storm Risk (TSR) are also expecting an above average
season this year. They predict 15 named tropical storms, 8 of which will become
hurricanes and 3 of which will attain Category 3 status or higher becoming
is about 30 percent above the average storm formation levels and TSR said that
it puts the above average nature of the 2013 hurricane season down to two
the forecast models suggest lighter than normal trade winds across the
Caribbean Sea and tropical north Atlantic which can help to influence the
cyclonic vorticity, or spinning up, of storms which can help to increase
is the long-range forecast for slightly warmer than normal sea surface
temperatures in the Atlantic’s main hurricane development zones during the peak
months of August and September, again a factor that could help to intensify
storms and cause more to form.
Weatherbell, a private firm that employs well-known forecaster Joe Bastardi, is
calling for 16 named tropical storms, a very high 12 hurricanes, and 5
hurricanes reaching major status of Category 3 or higher. Bastardi also
emphasizes the warmer than average sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic
ocean, saying that 2013 could be a very dangerous hurricane year for the
Caribbean and the southeast United States. He also forecasts above average
activity up the east coast and into the Gulf and further west.
Weatherbell expert believes that 2013 will see hurricane activity shift back to
the traditional paths we know from seasons such as 2004 and 2005, with
hurricanes tracking a little further south than in 2012.
another prediction, Weather Services International has just published its early
season Atlantic hurricane forecast for 16 named storms, 9 hurricanes and 5
other forecast teams are expected to release seasonal outlooks over the next
two months, including AccuWeather.com and WSI, a part of The Weather Channel.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will release its
predictions on May 23.
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