Forecasters at Colorado State University (CSU) expect the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, which officially begins June 1, will have more activity than the median 1981-2010 season, with an estimated 18 named storms, including nine hurricanes, four of them major (Category 3 or higher) — significantly higher numbers than CSU predicted prior to the 2012 hurricane season (see Daily GPI, April 16, 2012).

“The tropical Atlantic has anomalously warmed over the past several months, and it appears that the chances of an El Nino event this summer and fall are unlikely,” the CSU team said in its preliminary hurricane forecast, which was released Wednesday. “We anticipate an above-average probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the United States coastline and in the Caribbean.”

The forecasters estimate a 61% probability for at least one major hurricane to track into the Caribbean this year, compared with a 42% average over the last century. The probability of a at least one major hurricane making landfall between the Florida Panhandle and Brownsville, TX, are an estimated 47%, compared with 30% over the last century, and there is a 48% probability of a major hurricane hitting the U.S. East Coast.

Weather Services International (WSI) also expects an active Atlantic hurricane season this year, estimating 16 named storms, including nine hurricanes, five of them major, in a forecast released this week (see Daily GPI, April 9). Like CSU, the WSI forecast team said the early warming of tropical waters was one indication of increased activity, and said the emergence of an El Nino event “would create a less favorable environment for tropical development.”

The 2012 Atlantic hurricane season produced 19 named storms, including 10 hurricanes, one of them major, continuing a decades-long high-activity era in the Atlantic Basin (see Daily GPI, Nov. 30, 2012). It was the second consecutive year that the mid-Atlantic and Northeast suffered devastating impacts from a named storm (see Daily GPI, Nov. 14, 2012), but it was the seventh consecutive year that no major hurricanes hit the United States. Hurricane Isaac was the only storm to cause significant disruption to energy interests in the Gulf of Mexico in 2012 (see Daily GPI, Sept. 6, 2012).

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