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WSI Still Sees 'Active' Hurricane Season Ahead

WSI Corp. held firm to its forecast of an active 2008 Atlantic hurricane season in its newest tropical forecast, continuing to call for 14 named storms and eight hurricanes, including four intense hurricanes (Category 3 or greater) to form by Nov. 30.

WSI forecasters said an active hurricane season will arise from the expected continuation of warmer-than-normal Atlantic Ocean temperature anomalies and the likelihood of a favorable or neutral wind shear environment on the heels of the La Nina event.

"The current La Nina event, which is decaying somewhat this spring, should leave behind a wind shear environment that is favorable for the development of tropical systems in the summer and fall of 2008," said WSI seasonal forecaster Todd Crawford. "Further, surface atmospheric pressures have been persistently low across the tropical Atlantic during the last month, potentially implying a more favorable environment for development. Lastly, our forecast model has been quite consistent with the forecast numbers all spring."

Between 1950 and 2007 an average of 9.7 named storms, 5.9 hurricanes and 2.3 intense hurricanes have formed during the Atlantic hurricane season.

Formation and dissipation of the first tropical storm of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season came and went more than a month ago with no threat to Gulf of Mexico oil and gas interests. Tropical Storm Arthur developed May 31 in the western Caribbean Sea and wasted little time in moving ashore over Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, where it was downgraded to a tropical depression on June 1.

Most forecasters this year have called for an active or above-average Atlantic hurricane season. Last month Colorado State University forecasters maintained their earlier forecast, which called for a well above-average hurricane season this year with 15 named storms forming in the Atlantic Basin (see Daily GPI, June 4).

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has said projected climate conditions point to a near-normal or above-normal hurricane season in the Atlantic Basin this year (see Daily GPI, May 27). The outlook indicates a 60-70% chance of 12 to 16 named storms, including six to nine hurricanes and two to five major hurricanes, NOAA said.

MDA EarthSat forecasters also said the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season will likely be busier than average but quieter than last year (see Daily GPI, April 16). MDA EarthSat forecasters said 13 named storms, six hurricanes and three intense or major hurricanes are likely to form during the Atlantic hurricane season.

AccuWeather.com meteorologist Joe Bastardi said the East Coast will be at greater risk this coming hurricane season even though the number of named storms is expected to be about average, and Gulf of Mexico interests can expect seven to 10 days with at least the threat of weather disruptions (see Daily GPI, May 13).

Using NOAA data and its own storm tracking tool, forecasting network WeatherBug said it expects 10-12 named storms and an above-average Atlantic hurricane season (see Daily GPI, May 30).

Last month energy consultant IHS Inc. issued a report that said average impact on U.S. oil and natural gas production from Gulf of Mexico hurricanes over a 45-year period was "relatively modest" and the impact on energy supplies "typically short-lived" (see Daily GPI, June 5).

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