Thursday, April 18, 2013

N.C. State team agrees: Busy hurricane season

Add a North Carolina State University team of scientists to those predicting a busier-than-average hurricane season in the Atlantic basin this year.

N.C. State scientists published their 2013 forecast this week, calling for 13 to 17 named storms in the Atlantic Ocean this year. They also expect three to five named storms in the Gulf of Mexico.

Their forecast total is comparable to that of two other previously announced predictions -- from a Colorado State University team that has been doing this for 30 years; and from WeatherBell's Joe Bastardi, who is well-known to many for his work at Accu-Weather before moving to a different company a few years ago.

The average number of named storms in the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf on any given year is 12.

Lead scientist for the N.C. State team is Lian Xie, professor of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. He was assisted by three statistics teachers -- Montserrat Fuentes, Derrit Hammerling, and Bin Liu.

The team predicts seven to 10 hurricanes in the Atlantic, with one or two hurricanes in the Gulf.

Scientists expect above-average activity this year because waters in the tropical Atlantic Ocean have warmed, and because there is no El Nino activity forecast for this season. El Nino, a condition of cooler-than-average water temperatures in the eastern Pacific, sends a west-to-east upper-level wind across the southern United States. That atmospheric flow tends to disrupt tropical systems as they try to form.

When I wrote the story a week ago about the Colorado State forecast, I heard from a few readers who said, "What's new? They always forecast above-average hurricane activity?"

To be honest, I agreed initially. But I took a look, and most scientists predicted below-average activity last year. There have been a few other predictions of below-average activity in recent years, although most years' forecasts have been for a lot of activity.

Then again, scientists say we are in a period of above-average hurricane activity.

The government's official forecast, from the National Hurricane Center, will be released in late May.

The season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.


Marconi Polonius said...

Should be a busy summer for Eric "chicken little " Thomas,Steve " useless " Udelson, and Brad Panicovitch!

Jay Dee Shaw said...

It is never too soon to start hyping-up the numerous hurricanes that are on the way to wipe out the coasts. But what good does it do here in mid-April to know this unchallengeable certainty? Shall mass evacuations begin now to avoid the coming rush?

Anonymous said...

Over a week, and no new dramatic "storm" posting?

Anonymous said...

Has The Duke, UNC-Wilmington, or ECU team been given a chance to agree on this yet?