Hurricane season might pack extra kick
A satellite image of Hurricane Ernesto taken on August 7th, 2012
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has decided to up its prediction for the oncoming hurricane season, already taking into account the advancement of El Nino.
With six major storms already to date, the current NOAA outlook indicates a 50 percent likelihood for "normal season" weather, but has raised the expectation on "above normal" conditions to 35 percent. On the other end of the spectrum - perhaps the most intriguing change - the chances at a "below normal" season have been reduced to 15 percent. It would seem as if the NOAA is definitely expecting more harsh weather than sunshine in the hurricane months (June 1st to November 30th).
NOAA projects the Atlantic Basin to see: 12 to 17 named storms, top wins of 39mpg or higher; 5 to 8 hurricanes with top winds greater than, or equal to 74mph, 2 to 3 of which could be major hurricanes with category 3, 4, or 5 winds (111mph).
“We are increasing the likelihood of an above-normal season because storm-conducive wind patterns and warmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures are now in place in the Atlantic,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at the Climate Prediction Center. “These conditions are linked to the ongoing high activity era for Atlantic hurricanes that began in 1995. Also, strong early-season activity is generally indicative of a more active season.”
Interestingly, NOAA seasonal climate forecasters also announced that El Niño will likely develop in August or September.
“El Niño is a competing factor, because it strengthens the vertical wind shear over the Atlantic, which suppresses storm development. However, we don’t expect El Niño’s influence until later in the season,” Bell said.
For more information, visit the official NOAA article.