NOAA hurricane outlook indicates an above-normal Atlantic season

Looks pretty much the same as Mann’s hurricane season predictions

Round Butte Dam.

Hurricanes Karl, Igor and Julia (from left to right on Sept. 16) were part of the onslaught of Atlantic storms last hurricane season (2010). -click image to enlarge - Image NOAA

The Atlantic basin is expected to see an above-normal hurricane season this year, according to the seasonal outlook issued by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center – a division of the National Weather Service.

Across the entire Atlantic Basin for the six-month season, which begins June 1, NOAA is predicting the following ranges this year:

  • 12 to 18 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which:
  • 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including:
  • 3 to 6 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher)

Each of these ranges has a 70 percent likelihood, and indicate that activity will exceed the seasonal average of 11 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes.

“The United States was fortunate last year. Winds steered most of the season’s tropical storms and all hurricanes away from our coastlines,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “However we can’t count on luck to get us through this season. We need to be prepared, especially with this above-normal outlook.”

Climate factors considered for this outlook are:

  • The continuing high activity era. Since 1995, the tropical multi-decadal signal has brought ocean and atmospheric conditions conducive for development in sync, leading to more active Atlantic hurricane seasons.
  • Warm Atlantic Ocean water. Sea surface temperatures where storms often develop and move across the Atlantic are up to two degrees Fahrenheit warmer-than-average.
  • La Niña, which continues to weaken in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, is expected to dissipate later this month or in June, but its impacts such as reduced wind shear are expected to continue into the hurricane season.

“In addition to multiple climate factors, seasonal climate models also indicate an above-normal season is likely, and even suggest we could see activity comparable to some of the active seasons since 1995,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

NOAA’s seasonal hurricane outlook does not predict where and when any of these storms may hit. Landfall is dictated by weather patterns in place at the time the storm approaches. For each storm, NOAA’s National Hurricane Center forecasts how these weather patterns affect the storm track, intensity and landfall potential.

“The tornadoes that devastated the South and the large amount of flooding we’ve seen this spring should serve as a reminder that disasters can happen anytime and anywhere. As we move into this hurricane season it’s important to remember that FEMA is just part of an emergency management team that includes the entire federal family, state, local and tribal governments, the private sector and most importantly the public,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate.

“Now is the time, if you haven’t already, to get your plan together for what you and your family would do if disaster strikes. Visit ready.gov to learn more. And if you’re a small business owner, visit www.ready.gov/business to ensure that your business is prepared for a disaster,” added Fugate.

Hurricane impacts are not limited to the coastline; strong winds and flooding rainfall often pose a threat across inland areas along with the risk for tornadoes.

Next week, May 22-28, is national Hurricane Preparedness Week. To help prepare residents of hurricane-prone areas, NOAA is unveiling a new set of video and audio public service announcements featuring NOAA hurricane experts and the FEMA administrator that are available in both English and Spanish. These are available at http://www.hurricanes.gov/prepare.

The National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. It operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy. Visit us online at weather.gov and on Facebook.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources.

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33 Responses to NOAA hurricane outlook indicates an above-normal Atlantic season

  1. Pull My Finger says:

    They’re really going out on a limb making such specific predictions!

  2. Latitude says:

    3-6 major hurricanes, 3,4,5 category…..

    It’s a shame they don’t give those same odds with the lottery.

  3. James Sexton says:

    lol, 12-18…… they sure narrowed that down. Are they really sure?

  4. Rhoda Ramirez says:

    I just realized that FEMA is now under Dept Homeland Security. Napolitano. Be afraid; be very afraid.

  5. Mike Bromley says:

    Mann, oh Mann, but for 0.25 of a tropical depression, I’d almost think there was plagarism goin’ on.

  6. DonK31 says:

    When was the last time that the prediction was for below normal TC activity? I’ve lived in FL since ’98. I think that there was 1 year that was predicted to be near normal. All others have been predicted to be above normal. Only here and Lake Wobegon can everyone be above average.

  7. SteveSadlov says:

    It all depends on the jet stream. If the stream is zonal and up north, they may be vindicated. However, if it’s loopy and chaotic, or, long wave semi stable with a big blocker out West, then the stream will keep the tropical action way to the south and weak.

    If the stream does not “cooperate” though, you can count on count padding (pun intended) via nor’easters, occluded fronts and other mid latitude systems recast as “tropical.”

  8. Scott Covert says:

    Why do they (NOAA) use the word “normal” when all they are talking about is “average”?

    Shouldn’t “normal” be something like the average plus or minus one or two standard deviations?

    How did average become equivalent to normal?

  9. Latitude says:

    Each of these ranges has a 70 percent likelihood
    ======================================
    Why do they even bother……….

    even if they are wrong, they can say there was a 30% chance of that

  10. Jeremy says:

    Is there such a thing as “normal”?

    Isn’t the idea or concept of “normal” a human misconception – especially when it comes to weather and climate?

    I mean just look at how much trouble & unnecessary worry and expense that the notion of climate having a natural normal state has got us into?

    It will be what it will be…

  11. Michael says:

    “Energy Falls Despite ‘Above Average’ Hurricane Forecast”

    market yawns, http://www.cnbc.com//id/43095900

  12. RobW says:

    Can someone please point me to a place that explains the “new vs older” classification system to name storms. thanks

  13. Paddy says:

    NOOA’s forecasts are so detailed and informative that those with needs to measure risks reliably, like insurance companies and farmers, hire Joe Bastardi.

  14. Anything is possible says:

    “Looks pretty much the same as Mann’s hurricane season predictions”

    I call plagiarism!!! (:-

  15. Richard111 says:

    “” “However we can’t count on luck to get us through this season. “”
    Luck? I thought it was the position of the jet stream.

  16. Tom t says:

    Yeah it looks like Mann’ s. It looks like everyone’s, because as I keep saying the likely number is in such a small range that every guess has to be close to every other guess. Anthony, I guess you are between 3ft and 8 ft tall. What do I get for that guess. But like NOAA if you tell me you are taller or shorter I want another guess, this is what they get to do with their mid-season corrections.

  17. Mycroft says:

    ■The continuing high activity era. Since 1995, the tropical multi-decadal signal has brought ocean and atmospheric conditions conducive for development in sync, leading to more active Atlantic hurricane seasons.

    Thought it was shown there was no change in the long term trend in hurricane activity in the Atlantic basin?and if anything is was dropping slighty!!
    Another one for the climate fail files….

  18. Ed Barbar says:

    How can you go wrong? If there are fewer hurricanes than predicted, we are lucky. If the estimate is right, the warmists are gods. If the estimates are low, things are getting worse faster than “we” predicted.

  19. u.k.(us) says:

    “Climate factors considered for this outlook are:”….
    ========
    Should not “natural variability”, replace “climate”, in the caveat.
    If only because every factor listed, is a NATURAL VARIABILITY.

  20. Jeff Alberts says:

    “12 to 18 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which:”

    39 mph is a light breeze in Western Washington.

  21. Jeff Alberts says:

    Jeremy says:
    May 19, 2011 at 11:10 am

    re: normal

    Couldn’t agree more. The local forecasters in the Seattle area always use “normal” when referring to rainfall, temp, etc, when they really mean average or mean over a certain time span, but they never tell you what the time span is.

  22. jack morrow says:

    I believe Bastardi predicts 14 plus or minus one. I think he mentioned the East coast is in the cross-hairs-uh oh ,cross-hairs is not politically correct.Sorry.

  23. John F. Hultquist says:

    Questions about normal

    “Average” is an ill defined mathematical term. Commenters here are thinking of the “mean” – a defined thing.

    “Normal” is used (or initially was selected) to express the notion of humankind’s weather background, that is, what one grows up experiencing. Most folks don’t pay much attention to weather during the time from birth to age 5 or 6, then as one ages memories of the early years get dim and are replaced with more recent memories. When wanting a standard to compare to this month’s or year’s weather, one wants to have that comparison actually be something the person can relate to. A 200 year mean would not do this – you weren’t here then. So, years ago a 30-year period ending with a zero was chosen to provide this numeric crutch for inaccurate memories.

    So, “normal” is the solution to an issue. It was selected in 1935 , I believe during a meeting of world-weather types in Poland. Almost always the time span is the most recent 30 years ending in 0 (zero). This was established before the computer era.

  24. Doug Proctor says:

    What are the graphs for hurricanes/storms? What do the trends show? We’ve seen them already …

    I thought the number and severity and landfalls were dropping, and so their prediction for this year would be below”normal”…….

  25. Ian W says:

    All these forecasts are wimping out……

    Why is nobody talking about the number and location of landfalling hurricanes?

  26. Ric Werme says:

    Jeremy says:
    May 19, 2011 at 11:10 am

    Is there such a thing as “normal”?

    For Atlantic hurricanes, there are two “normals.” There are many more tropical storms during the warm AMO phase than the cool phase. There are nice charts available, the Klotzbach/Gray forecast will likely include them. I’ll create a post with them when the forecast is out.

    DonK31 says:
    May 19, 2011 at 10:56 am

    When was the last time that the prediction was for below normal TC activity? I’ve lived in FL since ’98. I think that there was 1 year that was predicted to be near normal. All others have been predicted to be above normal.

    The warm AMO started in 1995. About the only time a sub-longterm average forecast is made is during an El Niño. We have a few more years before the cool AMO gets reestablished. That may also reduce warm water getting into the Arctic Ocean. Will be interesting.

    I don’t have an answer for your question, but the Klotzbach/Gray forecasts are archived at http://hurricane.atmos.colostate.edu/Forecasts/ so you can answer it yourself. Record the answer here, and I’ll include it in my future post.

  27. Ric Werme says:

    Mycroft says:
    May 19, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    ■The continuing high activity era. Since 1995, the tropical multi-decadal signal has brought ocean and atmospheric conditions conducive for development in sync, leading to more active Atlantic hurricane seasons.

    Thought it was shown there was no change in the long term trend in hurricane activity in the Atlantic basin?and if anything is was dropping slighty!!
    Another one for the climate fail files….

    Longterm data for North Atlantic hurricanes is generally 50 years or so. (It should be a full AMO cycle, about 60 years.) One of the biggest differences between the current warm AMO and the last one is the dearth of landfalling hurricanes in New England. The last big storm was Hurricane Bob, and that was mid August 1991, during the cool AMO.

    During the last warm AMO, we had several, especially Carol and Edna in 1954 and Donna in 1960. Wikipedia notes “Sixth hurricane hit in southern New England in thirty years, fifth major storm in 22 years.”

    The cool AMO set in and the next decent storm was Gloria in 1985 “First hurricane of significant strength to move inland in southern New England since 1960.”

    http://www.erh.noaa.gov/box/hurricane/hurricaneCarol.shtml
    http://www.erh.noaa.gov/box/hurricane/hurricaneEdna.shtml
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_New_England_hurricanes

    But yeah, you’re right – there’s no long term change in Atlantic tropical activity – as long as you are clear what “long term” means.

  28. Tom t says:

    @Ric Werme. I don’t think this what he was getting at. 30 years or whatever is chosen as “normal’ is imposed by humans on nature. Nature however probably doesn’t care what we say is normal.

  29. Sera says:

    How well did the chimpanzee do last year?

  30. John Marshall says:

    The doom and gloom mongers at it again.

    I expect that the floods in the Mississippi basin are caused by the snow melt from record winter snows. I feel very sorry for all those affected but this is a natural event. The tornadoes caused by the warm air mass from the Gulf converging on the very cold air mass sitting over the central states. Again a natural event causing much misery.

    Americans have it rough sometimes but they do live in an otherwise beautiful country.

  31. Alan says:

    Tip: follow the smart money, look at how the natural gas and crude oil futures react to those predictions (as major hurricanes usually result in production shutdowns in the Gulf of Mexico and create a supply/demand imbalance). Institutional traders used to be influenced by the seasonal predictions; now nobody in the business believes them anymore and it’s even become a contrarian indicator.

  32. VICTOR says:

    there aren´t cat 5 since 2007

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