April 8, 2013
Weather Channel predicts another
active hurricane season
The Weather Channel has released its first 2013 Atlantic hurricane season outlook, calling for another active season.
forecast calls for a total of 16 named storms, nine of which are
expected to become hurricanes, including five major hurricanes
(Category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale).
forecast numbers are above the long-term average from 1950-2012 (12
named storms, seven hurricanes, three major hurricanes) and slightly
above the averages for the current active era from 1995-2012 (15 named
storms, eight hurricanes, four major hurricanes).
Atlantic hurricane seasons have had 19 storms. Only seven
Atlantic seasons have had more hurricanes than last season's 10
hurricanes. Among the four U.S. landfalls were the most intense
tropical cyclone to make a U.S. landfall prior to June 1 (Tropical
Storm Beryl), a soaking Tropical Storm Debby, a painfully slow
Hurricane Isaac, and one of the most destructive storms in U.S.
history, Superstorm Sandy. (Sandy became a "post-tropical" system
shortly before landfall.)
One particular meteorological field has long-range forecasters concerned about 2013.
of the side effects of the anomalous weather pattern during March was a
sharp increase in sea surface temperatures in the tropical North
Atlantic," said Dr. Todd Crawford, Chief Meteorologist for Weather
Services International (WSI), a part of The Weather Company.
it is still three months before hurricane season officially begins,
this early warming of the tropical waters is an indication that an
active season is in store, and our statistical forecast models confirm
this hypothesis," said Crawford. "Our current forecast...may be a
bit conservative if the warm tropical ocean temperatures persist
heading into the season."
With that said, there may be another factor that may oppose the effect of warmer-than-average ocean temperatures.
"The one potential fly in the ointment is the possible emergence of an El Nino event this summer," said Crawford.
wind shear, a nemesis to tropical cyclone development, tends to appear
in parts of the Atlantic Basin in a season in which El Nino has
"At this point, climate and statistical model
solutions suggest that this outcome (El Nino) is not particularly
likely, however," said Crawford.
"Through scientists at WSI, The
Weather Channel has been producing hurricane seasonal forecasts for the
Atlantic Ocean since 2006," says Dr. Peter Neilley, vice president,
Global Forecasting Services.
"The forecasts are based on
state-of-the-science techniques and inputs such as patterns of ocean
temperatures in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The Weather
Channel forecasts have proven quite accurate and generally predict the
number of storms within two each year.
"However, it is important
to note that our forecasts are for the total number of storms that may
occur anywhere within the Atlantic Ocean, and do not attempt to predict
the number of storms that will make landfall in the U.S.," says Neilley.
Meteorologist Stu Ostro points out, "Some businesses such as those who
are clients of Weather Services International (WSI) find value in
hurricane season forecasts. The total number of storms is of interest
to me because it matters for how busy I am during the season; for
example, there wasn’t a U.S. hurricane landfall in either 2009 or 2010,
but the former had nine storms and the latter 19.
as I am on record many times as saying, and as is The Weather Channel’s
philosophy, these forecasts absolutely cannot accurately predict
critical details such as where or how many landfalls will occur and
people in hurricane-prone areas should be equally prepared every year
regardless of seasonal outlooks."
Ostro adds, "In 1983 there
were only four named storms, but one of them was Alicia, a Category 3
which hit the Houston-Galveston area and caused almost as many direct
fatalities there as Andrew did in South Florida."
The 1992 season included four hurricanes and one U.S. landfall, Category 5 Hurricane Andrew.
"While the saying might appear trite, Andrew and Alicia exemplify that truly all it takes is one."
the opposite side of the spectrum from those two relatively inactive
hurricane seasons that each had a single devastating landfall was the
That year we saw a total of 12 hurricanes in the
Atlantic Basin. In all, there were 19 named storms, which tied 1995 for
the third most on record during a season.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
2013 HURRICANE NAMES