While still predicting an above-average season, the center now is calling for 13 to 19 named storms, of which six to nine are expected to develop into hurricanes, three to five category three or above.
At the first of the season, the center expected the numbers to be 13-20 named storms, seven to 11 becoming hurricanes, three to six becoming severe.
The peak of the season — mid-August through October — is yet to come.
“Our confidence for an above-normal season is still high,” says Dr. Gerry Bell, the center’s lead forecaster. “Also, two of the four named storms to date formed in the deep tropical Atlantic,” he says, “which historically is an indicator of an active season.”
The center’s outlook calls for a 70 percent chance of an above-normal season. The historical average is 12 named storms per season.
Other factors influencing the center’s forecast are above – average sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic and a strong rainy season in West Africa – both of which produce wind patterns more conducive for the formation of tropical systems.
For the rest of the season, the center’s and CSU’s forecasts are:
Type of Storm NHC CSU
Named Storms 13-19 18
Hurricanes 6-9 8
Severe 3-5 3
Regardless of which forecast, CSU hurricane forecast team founder, Dr. Bill Gray, warns that “all vulnerable coastal residents should make the same hurricane preparations every year. It takes only one landfall event near you to make this an active season.”
“The peak of the hurricane season is almost on us,” warns Joe Nimmich, the federal emergency management administrator for response and recovery. “Make sure to review your family emergency plan, check that your emergency kit is stocked and consider insurance options.”
Nimmich cites a government website for additional information: www.readytt.gov/hurricanes.
Bill Clough is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 122, or at beepic@mySouTex.com.