Thursday, August 03, 2006

Colorado Hurricane Forecast Updated

"...developments in the early months do not say a lot about the full season."
-- Philip Klotzbach, Colorado State University hurricane expert, Aug. 3, 2006
Just as Tropical Storm Chris was weakening "in a hurry" the hurricane forecast team at Colorado State University issued its August update of expected tropical storm activity.

For the remaining four months of this year's hurricane season, the team says --
[W]e have reduced our projection for 2006 hurricane activity from our earlier forecasts. Landfall probabilities for the 2006 hurricane season are projected to be above their long-period averages for the East Coast and near their long-period averages for the Gulf Coast.
In May, Dr. William Gray's team, now headed by doctoral candidate Philip Klotzbach, predicted 17 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and 5 of them of Category 3 strength or worse. Between 1950 to 2000, the average for Atlantic-based storms was about 10 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes of Category 3 or higher.

Today, the forecast was lowered to --
  • 15 named storms
  • 7 hurricanes and
  • 3 intense hurricanes of Cat-3 or worse
The team explains that "changes in June-July atmospheric and oceanic fields" indicate conditions have become "less favorable for tropical cyclone development in the tropical Atlantic."
These changes include above-average tropical Atlantic sea level pressure, above-average tropical Atlantic trade wind strength and a decreasing trend in tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures. Sea surface temperatures have also risen slightly in the eastern equatorial Pacific.
Still, they say, "we expect an active hurricane season for the Atlantic basin, but we do not foresee nearly as active a season as was experienced in 2004 and 2005."

There's even better news for Pensacola area residents. "For the Gulf Coast," they say, "landfall probabilities are slightly below the climatological average." But the fine print sort of waffles on that:
Steering current parameters for the Gulf Coast are mixed, with one of the predictors being slightly positive and the other predictor being moderately negative. However, it is to be noted that Gulf Coast landfall probabilities are still near their climatological averages (based on predicted high values of NTC), and therefore, coastal residents should prepare for a 26% probability of a landfalling major hurricane along the Gulf Coast.
For the East Coast, however, the CSU forecasters say the "odds of a major hurricane making landfall along the East Coast are more than twice the climatological average value this year."

(HT to the reader who alerted us by email to advance rumors of the new report issued by Early, a Tampa web site that considers itself "the premiere emergency management company." They got it mostly right, except for the predicted number of named storms.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Looking good for the panhandle!