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June 2, 2009

Wind goes out of hurricane forecast

SUN PHOTO/Karl Merton Ferron/2008 

A cooling of surface waters in the tropical Atlantic and the likelihood of a weak El Nino developing in the Pacific this summer have taken more wind out of the hurricane forecasts for the 2009 season, which began Monday.

Phil Klotzbach and William Gray, the hurricane experts at Colorado State University, today officially lowered their forecast for the coming season. They now expect hurricane activity slightly below the long-term averages. Tropical cyclone activity across the Atlantic Basin will be 90 percent of the average season, they said, compared with 160 percent in 2008.

Seasonal forecasts from Colorado State, and NOAA have been undercutting each other, and themselves, since December. Initial forecasts of an active season have been dialed back to slightly more-active than the average, to about average, and now to slightly less-active.

The revised Colorado State forecast, however, does not diminish by much the chances that at least one big hurricane will make landfall somewhere along the U.S. coastline. "The probability  ... is 48 percent compared with the last-century average of 52 percent," Klotzbach said. They rate the chance for a Cat. 3 storm making landfall along the East Coast (including Florida) at 28 percent this season, compared to a long-term average of 31 percent. (Those are wind and waves from Tropical Storm Hanna, pounding Ocean City in the 2008 photo above.)

Here are the CSU team's latest predictions, compared with their April forecast and long-term averages:

Latest: 11 named storms, including 5 hurricanes, of which 2 will reach "major" Cat. 3 status

April: 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, 2 major

Average:  9.6 named storms; 5.9 hurricanes; 2.3 major 

For more on the team's forecasts for the coming season, click here.

Posted by Frank Roylance at 10:30 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Hurricanes

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About Frank Roylance
This site is the Maryland Weather archive. The current Maryland Weather blog can be found here.
Frank Roylance is a reporter for The Baltimore Sun. He came to Baltimore from New Bedford, Mass. in 1980 to join the old Evening Sun. He moved to the morning Sun when the papers merged in 1992, and has spent most of his time since covering science, including astronomy and the weather. One of The Baltimore Sun's first online Web logs, the Weather Blog debuted in October 2004. In June 2006 Frank also began writing comments on local weather and stargazing for The Baltimore Sun's print Weather Page. Frank also answers readers’ weather queries for the newspaper and the blog. Frank Roylance retired in October 2011. Maryland Weather is now being updated by members of The Baltimore Sun staff

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