Despite a period of relative calm since Hurricane Ike slammed into the Texas coast at Galveston Sept. 13, the Colorado State University (CSU) hurricane team said it expects above-average hurricane activity this month.

Three named storms, including two hurricanes, one of them intense (Category Three or greater), are likely to form by the end of October, about twice the activity of an average October, the CSU forecasters said.

“We expect the month of October to be quite active,” said CSU forecaster Phil Klotzbach. “We continue to observe low sea level pressures and warm sea surface temperatures across the tropical Atlantic. A combination of these two factors typically leads to an active October. In addition, we continue to observe neutral ENSO [El Nino/southern oscillation] conditions in the tropical Pacific, so we do not expect that ENSO conditions will be detrimental to this year’s October activity.”

The 2008 hurricane season has already produced 12 named storms, including six hurricanes, three of them intense. The CSU team said there have been 74.5 named storm days so far, nearly twice the number of named storm days expected through the end of September, and Net Tropical Cyclone activity through September was about 155% of the long-period average.

“There has been a strong clustering of hurricane activity around mid-July and late August-early September,” said CSU forecaster William Gray. “We think we are now entering a new period of heightened activity that is likely to go for another two to three weeks.”

At the beginning of September the CSU hurricane team said it expected four hurricanes to form during September (see Daily GPI, Sept. 3). In fact, the Atlantic Basin has produced four hurricanes since late August. Hurricane Gustav slammed ashore near Cocodrie, LA, on Sept. 2; Hurricane Hanna came ashore days later near the North Carolina/South Carolina border and drenched much of the East Coast; Hurricane Ike roared through Texas and much of the nation’s midsection midmonth; and Hurricane Kyle passed to the east of Bermuda and headed north, losing its tropical characteristics as it sideswiped southwestern Nova Scotia late last month.

On Friday the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said there were two broad areas of low pressure with only low potential for tropical cyclone formation in the Atlantic Basin (Tropical Storm Marie, moving slowly west in the Pacific Ocean about 875 miles west-southwest of the southern tip of Baja California, was nearing hurricane strength, NHC said).

Earlier in the week WSI Corp. predicted a total of 16 named storms, including nine hurricanes, four of them intense, in the 2008 season, an increase of one named storm from its previous forecast and significantly more storms than the 1950-2007 average of 9.7 named storms, 5.9 hurricanes and 2.3 intense hurricanes (see Daily GPI, Oct. 1). A more favorable environment for tropical storm development is likely to return sometime before mid-October, according to WSI. The WSI forecast suggests that four more named storms will occur before the Nov. 30 close of the hurricane season. WSI said it expects three more hurricanes, one of them intense.

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