Thursday, May 19, 2011

Another Active Atlantic Hurricane Season Expected

Earlier today, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued their outlook for the upcoming 2011 Atlantic hurricane season.

NOAA'S Outlook calls for 12-18 storms, 6-10 of which will become hurricanes, and 3-6 of those hurricanes being major hurricanes (category 3 or higher).

Here are the other outlooks and predictions:

Dr. William Gray and his team at Colorado St. University

16 named storms

9 hurricanes

5 major hurricanes

Accu Weather

15 named storms

8 hurricanes

3 major hurricanes

Keep in mind that an average year consists of 11 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 major hurricanes. The bottom line is that all the different forecasting companies are predicting an above average year.

There are basically two main reasons why we are expecting another active hurricane season.

1.) A waning, but still existent La Nina phase, which looks to continue into the summer months. Wind shear in the upper atmosphere becomes very light, therefore, allowing storms to develop in a more favorable environment.

2.) Warmer than normal sea surface temperatures in the Gulf, Caribbean, and Atlantic ocean. This added warmth creates the extra fuel for these tropical heat engines to develop and do so at a very rapid pace.

Hurricane season officially begins on June 1st and runs through the end of November. The peak of hurricane season takes place in late August through late September.