May 9, 2013 in Washington Voices

Number of tropical storms, hurricanes likely to top norm

Randy Mann
 

Many hurricane forecasters are predicting another active season this year.

The 2012 Atlantic hurricane season was the third most active season in recorded history, tying with 1887, 1995, 2010 and 2011 with a total of 19 storms. In 2005, there were 28 named storms. The most significant storm last year was Hurricane Sandy, which caused about $2 billion in damages. Hurricane Katrina, in 2005 during the record hurricane and tropical storm season, was the most costly in history.

The tropical storm and hurricane season is June 30 through Nov. 30. In 2012, two named storms developed in May – Alberto and Beryl. Beryl caused some minor flooding when it hit north Florida.

The latest sea-surface temperature data shows a La Nada, which is in-between a cooler La Niña and a warmer El Niño. El Niño years often have fewer tropical storms and hurricanes as the change in wind patterns will sheer off the tops of the tropical storms and prevent their development. By contrast, during La Niña and La Nada years, the number of tropical storms and hurricanes is usually higher than average.

In addition to the La Nada pattern, readings are slightly higher off the coast of Africa where the tropical storms develop. Ocean waters are also a bit warmer in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.

Many forecasters are predicting an above average number of named storms with winds at or greater than 39 mph.

My predictions for this year are the same as in 2012: 15 to 19 named storms with seven to nine of them becoming hurricanes. I expect four or five of those to reach at least a Category 3 status. The average is 11 named storms with six hurricanes during a season.

If you have any questions or comments, contact Randy at www.facebook.com/ wxmann, or go to www.longrange weather.com for additional information.


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