Hurricane Forecast For 2013: Look For An Active Season
By Debbie M. Lord, al.com, April 12, 2013
Stock up on bottled water and plywood, it could be an active 2013 hurricane season if the meteorologists at Colorado State University are correct.
The first forecast of the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane season from CSU meteorologists Phillip Klotzbach and William Gray calls for “enhanced activity” this year, with a 47 percent chance that a major hurricane will make landfall between the Florida Panhandle and Brownsville, Texas.
The folks at the Tropical Meteorology Research Project at CSU are forecasting 18 named storms. They predict that nine of those storms will become hurricanes and that four of those nine will be major hurricanes – Category 3, 4, or 5 storms.
The forecast takes into account an unusually warm tropical Atlantic combined with only a slight chance of an El Niño — a temporary change in the climate of the Pacific Ocean that works to inhibit the formation of tropical systems in the Atlantic and Caribbean.
A press release from the center explains that while predicting storms is a science, it isn’t an exact one.
“Everyone should realize that it is impossible to precisely predict this season’s hurricane activity in early April. … Our new early April statistical forecast methodology shows strong evidence over 29 past years that significant improvement over climatology can be attained. We would never issue a seasonal hurricane forecast unless we had a statistical model developed over a long hindcast period which showed significant skill over climatology.”
Having said that, the center predicts there is an 80 percent chance of a hurricane hitting somewhere along the Gulf of Mexico this year, compared to the long-term average of 60 percent. There is a 96 percent chance of a hurricane hitting somewhere along the coast of the United States, compared to a long-term average of 84 percent.
Some other predictions:
- The chance of a hurricane hitting Alabama is 25.7 percent compared to the 15.6 percent long-term average
- For Mobile County, there is a 3.8 percent chance of one or more hurricanes making landfall. The long-term average is a 2.2 percent chance
- For Baldwin County, the number is 5.3 percent, compared to the 3.1 percent long-term average.
- In the Florida Panhandle, the chance of a landfalling hurricane is 3.0 percent (1.7 percent long-term) for Escambia county, and 3.8 percent (2.2 percent) for Santa Rosa County.
- There is a 17 percent chance of a Category 1 hurricane hitting Alabama; 5 percent chance of a Category 2 storm hitting and 4 percent chance of a Category 3 making landfall.
- In Mississippi, overall there is a 4 percent chance of a Category 1 storm strike; a 6 percent chance of a Category 2 and a 6 percent chance of a landfalling Category 3.
- In Florida, the odds are much higher due to the length of the coastline. There is a 41 percent chance of a Category 1 hitting someone on Florida’s coast; a 32 percent chance for a Category 2 strike; a 28 percent chance of a Category 3; a 6 percent chance of a Category 4 and a 2 percent chance of a monster Category 5 storm making landfall.
“Coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them, and they need to prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted,” the meteorologists reminded those who live along the nation’s coastline.
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