US forecast teams reported that the 2013 hurricane season would most likely be active. According to new forecasts, a total of 18 tropical storms are expected and eight of them are likely to become hurricanes, three of which are major hurricanes. So far, only four named tropical storms have been formed this season and none of them turned into hurricanes. But with a few months left in the season, the public cannot relax just yet and will have to keep an eye on the updates.
Comparing 2013 Hurricane to Past Hurricane Seasons
When compared to the numbers from the year 1950-2012, the 2013 Atlantic season is above the long-term average, which has a recorded average of 12 named storms, 7 hurricanes including 3 major hurricanes. The forecast for this hurricane season is also slightly higher than average when compared to the numbers of the current active era between the years 1995 and 2012. The forecast however, is near average for hurricanes and major hurricanes with 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes.
Throughout the country’s recorded history, only seven Atlantic seasons have had more than 10 hurricanes similar to last year, where the US experienced four landfalls, including Superstorm Sandy, which was one of the most destructive storms to hit the country.
According to the forecast team from Colorado State University, the current atmospheric conditions are similar to four hurricane seasons since the year 1950, including the years 1952, 1996, 2007 and 2008. Furthermore, the CSU team also reported that there is a 64% chance for a major hurricane to make landfall in the US coastline. This is lower when compared to their previous forecast of 72%.
The Absence of Hurricanes Explained
Despite that absence of hurricanes these past few months, forecast teams predict that the remaining months in the 2013 hurricane season will remain in the active phase. If compared to the records between the years 1996 and 2006, the first hurricane in the Atlantic season forms sometime around August. Thus, the lack of hurricane activity in the Atlantic season’s first few months is normal. One reason that forecast teams believe to have affected the season is El Nino. The El Nino weather pattern brings shearing winds that deter the development of hurricanes in the Atlantic. However, Dr. Klotzbach, head of the CSU team, explains that even though the tropical Atlantic is warmer than normal, the eastern portion has somewhat cooled. He explained further that it is unlikely that El Nino will be experienced this summer and fall.
Are the Forecasts of 2013 Atlantic Season Reliable?
According to Dr. Peter Neilley of the Global Forecasting Services, state of the art techniques are used for the forecasts and the data are from ocean temperatures of the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. The forecasts from the Weather Channel are quite accurate in general and are effective in predicting the number of storms each year. However, Dr. Neilley further explained that their forecasts only predict the number of storms that may be seen in the Atlantic Ocean, but not the number of storms that will make landfall.
The public must therefore be vigilant and remain updated with the latest weather updates. Casualties and damages can be minimized through public awareness.