Posted: 10:36 am Wednesday, April 10th, 2013
By Eliot Kleinberg
The 2013 hurricane season will be “above average,” the Colorado State University hurricane forecast team said Wednesday.
The team, in its 30th year of such forecasts, called for 18 systems to become at least tropical storms and earn a name, with nine of those becoming hurricanes and four of those becoming major hurricanes, at Category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Scale, with top sustained winds of at least 111 mph.
The historical average for 1981 to 2010 is 12, 6 ½, and two.
The team never predicts where, when or whether a storm will strike land. And whether anyone predicts a below average or above average season has nearly no effect on the odds a storm will strike an individual place. So managers urge people to prepare as if one will.
The last three years were each among the busiest on record, but not for people in Florida, which hasn’t had a hurricane landfall since 2005. And a quiet year, 1992, produced only six storm, of which four were hurricanes, including a big storm, Andrew.
At last month’s National Hurricane Conference in New Orleans, the team’s William Gray said the tropics “look favorable for a quite-a-bit above average season,” but that “we just haven’t settled on the numbers.”
The team cites warmer than usual waters in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and the expected lack of an El Niño, the Pacific Ocean warm-water phenomenon that tends to hinder tropical storms and hurricanes.
“All vulnerable coastal residents should make the same hurricane preparations every year, regardless of how active or inactive the seasonal forecast is,” Gray’s partner, Phil Klotzbach, said in Wednesday’s release. “It takes only one landfall event near you to make this an active season.”
The team also forecast a 48 percent chance that a storm will strike somewhere on the U.S. east coast, including the Florida peninsula; the 20th century average was 31 percent.
The team’s next forecasts will be June 3 and Aug. 2.
In June 2012, the team predicted that season would produce 13 named storms, five of those becoming hurricanes and four of those major hurricanes. It tweaked that on Aug. 3 to 14, six and two. The year produced 19, 10 and one.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s 2012 prediction was 12 to 17, 5 to 8 and two to three, respectively.
The season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.