The team predicts:
Eighteen named storms, of which:
• Nine will become hurricanes
• Four will develop into major storms with sustained winds of 111 mph or higher.
Any system that is rated Category 3 or above is considered a major storm.
“The tropical Atlantic has anomalously warmed over the past several months,” explains CSU hurricane forecaster Phil Klotzbach. “And it appears that the chances of an El Nino event this summer and fall are unlikely.”
El Nino is associated with stronger vertical wind shear across the Atlantic, which is less conducive to the formation of hurricanes.
The team predicts tropical cyclone activity this season — which runs June 1 to Nov. 1 — will be 175 percent of the average season; by comparison, last year’s activity was 131 percent of normal.
The probabilities that a 2013 storm will make landfall:
• Entire U.S. coastline — 72 percent.
• U.S. East Coast — 48 percent
• Gulf Coast — 47 percent
• Caribbean — 61 percent.
The CSU team, which has been issuing forecasts for 30 years, also offers predictions for Bee County.
It predicts a 2.5 percent chance of a one or more named storms affecting Bee County; a 1.5 percent chance that the county will be hit by one or more hurricanes, and slightly more than .5 percent Bee County will be affected by one or more intense hurricanes.
“All vulnerable coastal residents should make the same hurricane preparations every year, regardless of how active or inactive the seasonal forecast is,” Klotzbach says. “It only takes one landfall near you to make this an active season.”
Five previous hurricane seasons exhibited similar oceanic and atmospheric characteristics to what is being observed now, the team says, including 1915, 1952, 1966, 1996 and 2004.
The CSU team will issue updated forecasts June 3 and Aug. 2. The National Hurricane Center in Miami will issue its 2013 forecast in the last week of May.
This year’s hurricane names are: Andrea, Barry, Chantal, Dorian, Erin, Fernand, Gabrielle, Humberto, Ingrid, Jerry, Karen, Lorenzo, Melissa, Nestor, Olga, Pablo, Rebekah, Sebastien, Tanya, Van and Wendy.
Bill Clough is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 122, or at beepic@mySouTex.com.