The remaining three months of the hurricane season will bring above-average storm activity, according to weather forecasters at Colorado State University (CSU).
“We expect the remainder of the season to be active,” said Phil Klotzbach, lead author of the CSU hurricane forecast. “The conditions in the Pacific are transitioning to a weak La Nina. We have seen low pressure readings in the tropical Atlantic during August. The combination of these two factors usually implies an active season.”
CSU’s Department of Atmospheric Science forecast team predicted that five named storms, including two major hurricanes, will form during September, usually the most active month of the hurricane season. A total of five more storms, including two hurricanes — one of them a major hurricane — will form during October and November, the CSU team said.
Atlantic Basin sea surface temperatures that have remained at near-normal values, El Nino-Southern Oscillation conditions that trended slightly cooler during August and Atlantic sea-level pressure values at near-record low levels during August could all indicate an active autumn for hurricanes, they said.
So far this year tropical storm activity has been slightly above average, producing a series of named storms including Dean, a long-lived Category 5 hurricane that slammed into Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula Aug. 21, and Felix, a Category 5 hurricane that struck portions of Central America last Tuesday. On the same day that Felix roared out of the Atlantic a Category 1 Pacific hurricane, Henriette, hit Baja California, Mexico.
In August, the CSU weather forecasters lowered slightly their predicted odds that a major hurricane would strike the U.S. coastline this year, but continued to call for a “very active” Atlantic basin season (see NGI, Aug. 6). A Category 5 hurricane passing through the heart of Gulf of Mexico energy platforms could cause more than $65 billion in producer damage and losses, according to EQECAT Inc., a subsidiary of ABSG Consulting (see related story).
WeatherBug, which owns 8,000 weather-monitoring stations in the United States, has also maintained its forecast for an above-average storm season in the Atlantic Basin because conditions are becoming “more conducive” to hurricanes. WSI Corp. has forecast a total of 14 named storms, six hurricanes and three intense hurricanes (Category 3 or greater) during the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season (see NGI, Sept. 3).
The CSU team will issue an updated forecast for October-November Atlantic basin hurricane activity on Oct. 2.
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