BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - Colorado State University researchers today echoed their previous prediction of an above-average hurricane season this year because of a warming tropical Atlantic Ocean and because El Niño is unlikely to form.
As they did in April, the team again calls for 18 named storms during the hurricane season, which runs June 1 through Nov. 30. Nine of those are expected to become hurricanes and four of those could grow to major hurricanes (Category 3 or stronger, with sustained winds of 111 mph or greater), according to Local 6 news partner Florida Today.
"The tropical Atlantic remains anomalously warm, and it appears that the chances of an El Niño event this summer and fall are unlikely," Phil Klotzbach, of the CSU Tropical team, said in a prepared statement. "Typically, El Niño is associated with stronger vertical shear across the tropical Atlantic, creating conditions less conducive for storm formation."
CSU is in its 30th year of issuing Atlantic basin seasonal hurricane forecasts.
The CSU team says the El Niño climate pattern of warmer-than-usual water in the Pacific Ocean won't likely form this summer or fall.
El Niño typically fosters winds that shear apart storms before they grow to hurricanes.
Regardless of long-term predictions, coastal residents should make the same hurricane preparations they do every year, the CSU researchers said.
The team plans to update its forecast Aug. 2.
CSU team's forecast
The Colorado State University team's hurricane probabilities for a major hurricane making landfall on U.S. soil in 2013 are:
• Entire U.S. coastline – 72 percent (average for last century is 52 percent)
• U.S. East Coast including Florida Peninsula – 48 percent (average for last century is 31 percent)
• Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle westward to Brownsville, Texas – 47 percent (average for last century is 30 percent)
• Caribbean – 61 percent (average for last century is 42 percent)
Probabilities of tropical-storm force, hurricane-force and major hurricane-force winds occurring at specific locations along the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts are listed on the forecast team's Landfall Probability website at www.e-transit.org/hurricane.
The site provides probabilities for all coastal states as well as 11 regions and 205 individual counties from Brownsville, Texas, to Eastport, Maine.
The full forecast report is available at http://typhoon.atmos.colostate.edu
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