It's that time of year again, when
pre-hurricane season forecasts begin to roll out of Colorado State
University's Tropical Meteorology Dept., headed by veteran tropical
weather researcher William Gray.
year forecasts are usually issued ahead of the predictions from the
National Hurricane Center, an agency of the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration, which will be released sometime in
The forecast for
the 2007 Atlantic Hurricane Season calls for 17 named storms to
form in the Atlantic basin between June 1 and November 30, and that
nine of those storms will become hurricanes, five of which will
develop into major hurricanes (with sustained winds of 111 mph or
higher). It said there is a 74% chance of a major hurricane making
U.S. landfall, compared with the average of 52% over the past 100
The forecast is
similar to that issued by Gray before the start of the 2006 season,
which turned out to be a relatively weak and docile
Gray tweaked his
forecast several times during the 2006 season, each time reducing
the number of named and major storms that he predicted would occur.
This first forecast of the 2007 season also could be adjusted
several times before the official June 1 start of the six-month
Last May, Gray's
team forecast 17 named storms for 2006, including nine hurricanes,
five of them major ones. The forecast carried an 81% chance that at
least one major hurricane would hit the U.S. In reality, the 2006
season was considered a "near normal" one by most counts. There
were 10 named storms, five hurricanes, two of them major, but none
hit the U.S. Atlantic coast.
Gray said a late and unexpected warming in the Pacific Ocean, or El
Nino, calmed the elements, which included shifting wind patterns in
the Atlantic, disrupting hurricane patterns.
El Nino pretty
much disappeared this past winter, setting the stage for
hurricane-conducive conditions that could show up as
headline-grabbers in the next few months.
State University team also predicted that the Caribbean would have
an above-average major hurricane landfall risk this
"We are calling
for a very active hurricane season this year, but not as active as
the 2004 and 2005 seasons," said Phil Klotzbach of the Colorado
State forecast team.
In a related
move, Caribbean researchers will launch a pilot program this spring
to test early warning flood systems in communities that are prone
developed by both the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency
in Barbados and experts at the University of the West Indies in
Trinidad, is in testing stages now in Dominica, Grenada, and St.
To contact the reporters who wrote this article, send
e-mail to Gay Nagle Myers at [email protected] or Johanna Jainchill at [email protected].
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