Forecast: More Hurricanes Than Average Expected in '98
If 1998 Atlantic hurricane predictions by faculty at Colorado
State University are correct, the four-year period of 1995 through
1998 will have been the most active consecutive four years for
hurricanes on record. This year's Atlantic hurricane activity is
predicted to be "appreciably more than 1997 but less than the
unusually active 1995 and 1996 seasons.
Still, 1998 should be significantly more active than the average
of the generally suppressed hurricane seasons during the last 25
years and especially in comparison to the particularly quiet
seasons of 1991-1994," reads a recent forecast from the
university's Department of Atmospheric Science. Predicted for this
year's season are 10 named storms, 50 storm days, six hurricanes,
25 hurricane days, two intense hurricanes, four intense hurricane
days and a hurricane destruction potential of 70.
A named storm is a hurricane or tropical storm. A hurricane is a
tropical cyclone with sustained low-level winds of 74 miles per
hour or greater. A hurricane day is a measure of hurricane
activity, one unit of which occurs as four six-hour periods during
which a tropical cyclone is observed or estimated to have hurricane
intensity winds. An intense hurricane reaches a sustained low-level
wind of at least 111 miles per hour at some point in its lifetime.
This constitutes a "category 3" or "major" hurricane. An intense
hurricane day is four six-hour periods during which a hurricane has
category 3 intensity or higher. Hurricane destruction potential is
a measure of a hurricane's potential for wind and storm surge
destruction defined as the sum of the square of a hurricane's
maximum wind speed for each six-hour period of its existence.
On Friday, Colorado State will issue a report on the statistical
probability of U.S. coastal landfall of intense (category 3-4-5)
hurricanes for 1998.
Joe Fisher, Houston
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