Just days after Alex, the season’s first Atlantic-basin hurricane, brushed the U.S. coastline, William Gray and Philip Klotzbach of the Colorado State University hurricane forecast team issued a report this morning slightly reducing the team’s seasonal forecast. However, the researchers still call for above-average hurricane activity this year and expect slightly above-average tropical cyclone activity in August and September.
As detailed in today’s updated Atlantic seasonal hurricane forecast (August 6), Gray and Klotzbach call for a total of 13 named storms to form in the Atlantic basin this year. Of these, seven are predicted to become hurricanes and three are anticipated to evolve into intense hurricanes (Saffir/Simpson category 3-4-5) with sustained winds of 111 mph or greater. This is down slightly from the team’s late May forecast of 14 named storms, eight hurricanes and three intense hurricanes. The long-term average is 9.6 named storms, 5.9 hurricanes and 2.3 intense hurricanes per year.
“Based on atmospheric changes from late May to early August, including an unexpected minor warming of sea surface temperatures in the central Pacific indicating possible weak El-Nino conditions, we have slightly decreased our seasonal hurricane forecast,” said Gray. “We expect storm activity in August and September to be above average, however, October is expected to be below average. Overall, we think the 2004 Atlantic basin tropical storm season will be somewhat active and about 125 percent of the long-term average.”
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