Thursday, June 01, 2006

That Time of Year (sigh)

Okay. Wild optimists thought maybe the new hurricane season would be called off.

Right. By nuclear winter, maybe, or an unexpected supernova in the neighborhood. No such luck. Sorry.

Today marks the official (and quite arbitrary) start of the 2006 hurricane season. We say "arbitrary" because, historically, Atlantic basin tropical storms formed in every month of the year except April. Or, at least so it was said until Anna made it unanimous on April 16, 2003.

Older Pensacola Beach residents may recall the weird storm of an earlier April night in 1995. That one blew down one house under construction on the east end of the beach and tore a few roofs off others along Via de Luna. Not a hurricane, they said. A "microburst" inside a tropical rain storm.

Could've fooled us.

No matter. This year, so it's being reported by Bloomberg News Service, the "U.S. East Coast Has Greatest Odds of Hurricane Strike":
The U.S. East Coast is almost twice as likely to be hit by a major hurricane this year as the storm-battered communities along the Gulf of Mexico, forecasters at Colorado State University said today.For the 2006 season, which runs from tomorrow through Nov. 30, chances of an intense strike are above average along both the Atlantic coast and the Gulf coast, Klotzbach and Gray said.

They repeated predictions first issued in December for as many as nine hurricanes, including the five major ones, and 17 named storms. That's stormier than average, but not as bad as last year's record-breaking season, they said.

The East Coast has a 69 percent chance of being hit by a hurricane with winds of at least 111 miles per hour (178 kilometers per hour), known as a Category 3 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson intensity scale, the scientists said.

* * * Gulf Coast communities from the Florida panhandle to Brownsville, Texas, have a 38 percent chance of being hit by such a storm ranked Category 3 or above, they said.

"What has made the last two years so destructive is not necessarily the number of storms, although we have had a lot of those," Gray said in an interview. "It's the movement of the storms that formed in the last two years over the southeast U.S. coast.

* * *
For the 2006 season, which runs ... through Nov. 30, chances of an intense strike are above average along both the Atlantic coast and the Gulf coast, Klotzbach and Gray said. They repeated predictions first issued in December for as many as nine hurricanes, including the five major ones, and 17 named storms. That's stormier than average, but not as bad as last year's record-breaking season, they said.
For those who can't keep the predictions straight, here's a summary of this year's tropical crystal-ball gazing:
  • Colorado State: 9 hurricanes, 5 of them major
  • NOAA: 13-16 hurricanes, 6 of them major
  • AccuWeather: 5 'landfalling' hurricanes, 3 of them "major"
The one thing we're sure of is that's better than just one supernova. Those are getting more frequent in the neighborhood, too.

1 comment:

Bryan said...

The Bermuda High is currently weaker than normal, and the water temps in the Gulf are normal.

The La Niña is gone from the Pacific which moves the jet stream further North.

Good news for us, bad news for the Atlantic.