Chiming in on the Atlantic hurricane season, which begins Thursday, Andover, MA-based WSI Corp. agreed with other forecasters that the tropical season should be “another active” one, but that it should pale in comparison to last year’s tally of 27 named storms.

WSI released its forecast on the same day that the Colorado State forecast team released its updated outlook, which also called for increased activity over the norm (see related story).

WSI said it expects there to be 15 named storms, nine hurricanes, and five intense hurricanes (Category 3 or greater). The company pointed out that these numbers are significantly larger than the long-term averages of 9.6 named storms, 5.9 hurricanes, and 2.3 intense hurricanes, but are much smaller than last year’s record numbers. The main drivers of the expected active season are:

“We do not expect this season to be quite as active as the 2005 season, when a combination of record warm tropical Atlantic Ocean temperatures and extremely light vertical wind shear produced ideal conditions for tropical development,” said WSI seasonal forecaster Dr. Todd Crawford. “The wind shear this summer should not be quite as enabling as last summer since La Nina conditions have ended. However, tropical Atlantic Ocean temperatures are still quite warm compared to normal, so we do expect an active year similar to the years 2000-01 and 2003-04.”

WSI’s next seasonal forecast package, which will include both an update on the current tropical season as well as expectations for late summer temperatures, will be issued on June 13.

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