WSI Corp. made no changes in an updated tropical outlook, continuing to forecast 14 named storms, six hurricanes and three intense hurricanes (Category 3 or greater) during the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season.

The number of storms predicted is larger than the long-term averages of 9.6 named storms, 5.9 hurricanes and 2.3 intense hurricanes, and also larger than the numbers from 2006, WSI said. The main drivers of the expected active season are a continuation of the warmer than normal temperatures in the western tropical Atlantic basin and a relatively benign vertical wind shear environment due to the lack of an El Nino event.

“While the eastern tropical Atlantic Ocean temperature anomalies have remained relatively cool this summer, the western tropical Atlantic Basin is quite warm, as evidenced by the strength attained by Hurricane Dean before landfall,” said WSI seasonal forecaster Todd Crawford. “Further, the trend towards La Nina conditions has been accompanied by a reduction in the vertical wind shear in the tropics, another enabling factor for tropical development.

“While this season will not approach the historic levels observed in 2005, we do continue to expect an active season relative to long-term averages, and certainly more active than the 2006 season. The five named storms, one hurricane and one major hurricane observed so far in 2007 are outpacing the long-term averages of three named storms and one hurricane by this point in the season. The warm western Atlantic ocean temperatures and benign shear environment should continue to support this above-normal pace through the remainder of the tropical season.”

In a separate report issued this week, WSI forecast warmer than normal temperatures across all but the northwestern quarter of the U.S. during September, October and November (see Daily GPI, Aug. 21).

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