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December 9, 2009

First hurricane forecast for 2010 is out

The 2009 hurricane season has been over for exactly 9 days and already an intrepid band of forecasters has issued its predictions for 2010.

Phil Klotzbach and William Gray, at Colorado State University, say the El Nino event that was blamed for suppressing hurricane formation during the 2009 season (and influencing this stormy autumn we've had) will wane by next summer.

That, they say, will take the brakes off the underlying conditions - warm sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic - that have been sending us unusually active Atlantic seasons, on average, since 1995.

Calvert County damage Ida So, nearly six months out, the CSU team expects to see 11 to 16 named storms next season. Of those, 6 to 8 will reach hurricane force, with 3 to 5 of those reaching Cat. 3 strength (111 mph).

The long-term averages are: 9.6 named storms; 5.9 hurricanes; 2.3 "intense" (Cat. 3) storms.

Their December forecast predicts a 40 percent chance that at least one major (Cat. 3) storm will make landfall along the East Coast, including Florida's Atlantic coast. The long-term average is 31 percent. 

It's the first time Klotzbach and Gray have used number ranges in their initial forecast. They say they will list specific numbers in their next update, in April.

The CSU forecasts are based on 58 years of data on hurricanes and air and water conditions in the Atlantic basin. They claim their system has correctly forecast above- or below-average seasons in 44 of those 58 years.

Time will tell. In the meantime, here's an interesting take on the surprising amount of Maryland damage done by Ida, the Gulf hurricane remnants that stalked the U.S. East Coast in November. That's the Calvert County shoreline of the Chesapeake above, where a storm surge driven by Ida's passage eroded many feet of beach.

(Photo by Karl Hille, for NASA)

Posted by Frank Roylance at 1:12 PM | | 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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