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Time for the annual “We’re in for a busy hurricane season” forecast

And indeed, forecasters say we are in for another active year, as was the case last year. Here’s SciGuy with some discussion.

[S]easonal forecasters did a pretty good job of calling last year’s extraordinarily active season. So while there’s no way we can say precisely where storms might make landfall this year, it’s a fairly safe bet to say we’re in for an active year.

Here’s some discussion , from Chris Hebert with ImpactWeather:

  • One of the primary seasonal predictors we examine is the presence of an El Niño or a La Niña in the Tropical Pacific. An El Niño typically results in less favorable conditions for development and fewer named storms in the Atlantic Basin. A La Niña generally results in more favorable conditions for development and more named storms. For 2011, the La Niña of 2010 appears to be fading to what we call “neutral” conditions this summer and fall. Neutral conditions alone would not significantly reduce the number of named storms this season. The 2005 hurricane season with 28 named storms was a “neutral” year.
  • Long-range models are predicting that surface pressures across the Subtropical Atlantic will be significantly higher in 2011 as compared to 2010. This suggests a stronger Bermuda High that is located farther south and west than in 2010. A stronger Bermuda High would impact the season in several ways. It would result in stronger easterly trade winds in the deep tropics east of the Caribbean. Stronger trade winds would mean increased low-level wind shear compared to last season, which should result in fewer named storms.
  • More significantly, a stronger Bermuda High would not allow as many hurricanes to turn northward or “recurve” east of the Caribbean and east of the U.S. This would significantly increase the risk of a hurricane entering the northern Gulf of Mexico and striking the Southeast U.S. Coast.
  • Atlantic sea surface temperatures (SSTs) remain quite a bit above normal this spring. These above-normal SSTs are forecast to persist through the hurricane season. Warmer water increases the amount of heat energy available, resulting in the generation of more intense hurricanes. The Gulf of Mexico is particularly warm this spring, indicating an elevated risk of a major hurricane in the Gulf for 2011.

You know the drill. Stock up on hurricane supplies, be prepared to hunker down, and if you live in Katy, run for your lives.

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