Wednesday, September 4, 2013

At the Halfway Mark in Hurricane Season

As we reported here on the Cruise Diva blog, at the beginning of the current "hurricane season" the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a grim prediction for 2013, with this statement appearing on the NOAA web site in May:
"In its 2013 Atlantic hurricane season outlook issued today, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting an active or extremely active season this year.

For the six-month hurricane season, which begins June 1, NOAA’s Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook says there is a 70 percent likelihood of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 7 to 11 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher).

These ranges are well above the seasonal average of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes."
So how's the accuracy of their 2013 forecast thus far? The Atlantic hurricane season is half over without a single hurricane forming. Undaunted, forecasters still warn of an active season through November when it officially ends. However, last month the NOAA scaled back its forecast to between six and nine expected hurricanes this year. The update also predicts that three to five of those will be major hurricanes, with winds topping more than 110 mph. Additionally, the update warns of 13 to 19 named storms this year and still assigns the odds that 2013 will be busier than normal at 70 percent. In a "normal" year, we experience 12 named storms, six hurricanes, and three major storms.

Simply because the season has reached its halfway point with little storm activity, don't let your guard down. Experts warn that peak hurricane season runs from mid-August to mid-October and last year's Hurricane Sandy proved how devastating a late season storm can be.

Image Courtesy NOAA/NASA

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