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    Atlantic hurricane season forecast high

    Atlantic hurricane season forecast high

    The United States and Mexico should brace themselves for another set of powerful hurricanes this year, forecasters have warned.

    Conditions are right for a bumper crop of hurricanes to form in the Atlantic Ocean, they say. Sea-surface temperatures are warmer than usual in the region where hurricanes develop, providing more fuel for potential storms. And wind patterns, which if strong can rip apart a nascent hurricane, are relatively weak.

    Hurricane season begins in the Atlantic on 1 June, and scientists are trotting out their predictions of what to expect. On Monday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its forecast: that 13 to 16 tropical storms would form in the Atlantic, with winds of at least 62 kilometres per hour. Eight to ten of those storms could reach speeds of 118 kilometres per hour, making them a hurricane. And four to six might get all the way to 178 kilometres per hour, making them a major hurricane.

    That's higher than the average, but lower than last year's massive hit of 28 named storms. "We don't anticipate reaching or exceeding last year's extraordinary tally of storms," says NOAA chief Conrad Lautenbacher.

    That said, hurricane forecasting can be a tricky business, especially this early in the season. Last year, NOAA forecast just half of the true number of Atlantic storms in its May announcement (see box).

    Stormy weather

    The predictions rely on computer models that look back at past hurricane seasons and calculate how likely storms are to form if certain conditions, from ocean temperature to wind strengths, are present. The models serve as a general guide for what to expect, but rarely get the exact number of hurricanes right.

    This April, sea-surface temperatures were 0.6 °C warmer than usual in the swath of tropical ocean between Africa and the Caribbean, where hurricanes usually get started. This warming is unlikely to dissipate in the coming months.

    At the same time, easterly winds in the middle atmosphere have been blowing more weakly than normal, says NOAA forecaster Gerald Bell. So any tropical depression that develops would have little to stop it from building into a storm. Although winds might be expected to be more variable over shorter time scales than water temperatures, researchers have found there are patterns that mean spring measurements can forecast something useful about the coming months.

    There's also no sign of an El Niño this year. That phenomenon, marked by a warming in the eastern tropical Pacific, tends to suppress hurricanes in the Atlantic.

    All together now

    Other forecasting groups have come up with similar numbers to NOAA's, using similar logic but different models. A team led by William Gray at Colorado State University predicts 17 named storms, with 9 of them hurricanes. A group at the Benfield Hazard Research Centre, at University College London, UK, predicts 15 tropical storms and 8 hurricanes.

    Still, Lautenbacher points out, "it only takes one hurricane in your neighbourhood to make it a bad season."

    NOAA will update its forecast in early August. Adding in the data from June and July should dramatically improve predictions for the rest of the year, experts say. July winds have been previously shown1 to be a good indicator of whether hurricanes will make landfall or not, an important factor in the damage that they can incur.

    Hurricane season officially ends on 30 November, although nature does not always comply with the calendar. Last year, the final storm of the season did not die until early January, forcing the National Hurricane Center to yank forecasters back from their new year's holiday to keep working.

    Bron: http://www.nature.com
    Vuja De': the strange feeling you get that nothing has happened before.

    Hier een soortgelijk bericht:

    As many as 6 major hurricanes predicted

    MIAMI - With visible reminders from last year's Atlantic hurricane season — blue tarps and broken signs — still dotting parts of Florida and the Gulf Coast, forecasters warned storm-weary residents to prepare for as many as six major hurricanes this year.

    There could be up to 16 named storms, the
    National Hurricane Center announced Monday.

    But 2006 should not be as destructive as last season's record year, which had 28 named storms, 15 of which were hurricanes, seven of them Category 3 or higher.

    This year the Atlantic has less warm water, which fuels potential storms, meteorologists said.

    Officials warn residents they still need to take action.

    "One hurricane hitting where you live is enough to make it a bad season," Max Mayfield, the center's director, said.

    The predictions came on the same day an independent report showed the New Orleans levee system was routinely underfunded and inadequate to protect against hurricanes. It also called for an overhaul of the agencies that oversee flood protection.

    Last year, forecasters initially predicted 12 to 15 tropical storms, with seven to nine of them becoming hurricanes, and three to five of those hurricanes being major, with winds of at least 111 mph.

    The season was much busier, breaking records that had stood since 1851.

    David Paulison, the
    Federal Emergency Management Agency's acting director, said more than 100,000 families still living in government trailers along the Gulf Coast will have to evacuate if a tropical storm threatens, even with winds of just 39 mph.

    Paulison said those who do not need to evacuate must still have an emergency plan.

    "We have to be able to take care of ourselves for the first 72 hours," he said. "What it does when we don't take care of ourselves is stop our first responders in the street from helping those really in need."

    Atlantic hurricane seasons were relatively mild from the 1970s through 1994. Since then, all but two years have been above normal. Experts say the ocean is in the midst of a 20-year-cycle that will continue to bring strong storms.

    Between 1995 and 2005, the Atlantic season has averaged 15 named storms, slightly more than eight named hurricanes and four major hurricanes, according to the hurricane center. From 1971 to 1994, there were an average of 8.5 named storms, five hurricanes and just over one major hurricane.

    The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.

    Bron: http://www.news.yahoo.com
    Vuja De': the strange feeling you get that nothing has happened before.


      Nou Olaf... dit jaar naar Amerika op vakantie zou ik zeggen Je kan je lol dan op!!
      De kosmos, wat een geniaal ontwerp.....


        Katrina II, ik hoop dat de Amerikanen geleerd hebben :roll:


          Haha ja idd Gijs, al vindt ik tornado's veel spannender dan orkanen (hoewel die ook zeer destructief zijn).
          This person attempts not to panic, with the aid of several towels.