NOAA Still Expects Active Atlantic Hurricane Season; La Niña Develops


Contact:  Chris Vaccaro 202-482-6093 August 5, 2010

NOAA Still Expects Active Atlantic Hurricane Season; La Niña Develops

Image from NOAA/NESDIS - added by Anthony for reference - not part of original press release - click to enlarge

The Atlantic Basin remains on track for an active hurricane season, according to the scheduled seasonal outlook update issued today by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service. With the season’s peak just around the corner – late August through October – the need for preparedness plans is essential.

NOAA also announced today that, as predicted last spring, La Niña has formed in the tropical Pacific Ocean. This favors lower wind shear over the Atlantic Basin, allowing storm clouds to grow and organize. Other climate factors pointing to an active hurricane season are warmer-than-average water in the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean, and the tropical multi-decadal signal, which since 1995 has brought favorable ocean and atmospheric conditions in unison, leading to more active seasons.

“August heralds the start of the most active phase of the Atlantic hurricane season and with the meteorological factors in place, now is the time for everyone living in hurricane prone areas to be prepared,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.

Across the entire Atlantic Basin for the whole season – June 1 to November 30 – NOAA’s updated outlook is projecting, with a 70 percent probability, a total of (including Alex, Bonnie and Colin):

  • 14 to 20 named storms (top winds of 39 mph or higher), including:
  • 8 to 12 hurricanes (top winds of 74 mph or higher), of which:
  • 4 to 6 could be major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of at least 111 mph)

These ranges are still indicative of an active season, compared to the average of 11 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes; however, the upper bounds of the ranges have been lowered from the initial outlook in late May, which reflected the possibility of even more early season activity.

“All indications are for considerable activity during the next several months,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “As we’ve seen in past years, storms can come on quickly during the peak months of the season. There remains a high likelihood that the season could be very active, with the potential of being one of the more active on record.”

Be prepared for the hurricane season with important information available online at and at FEMA’s

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. Visit us at or on Facebook at


Ryan Maue adds some perspective to the hurricane season to date:  is the Accumulated Cyclone Energy through August 5th a useful indicator of the total season activity?  Not quite yet:  for 1950-2009 historical Atlantic activity, the correlation is still low (r = 0.47) between the ACE through August 5th and the entire season.  During the past 30-years (1980-2009) the correlation is (somewhat) better (r=0.63) but there are many seasons that have zero or very little activity at this point in August.

A reference bar graph whipped up from the HURDAT best-track archive of ACE shows the on average, only about 10% of the ACE is seen through August 5 (from 1950-2009).

Figure.  North Atlantic tropical cyclone accumulated energy (ACE) for the entire season (black bars) and values through August 5 (lime green portion of bar).

So far with Alex, Bonnie, and Colin, we have ACE of about 8, a far cry from the 71 from the record 2005 season.  With the seasonal forecasts from NOAA, Gray and Klotzbach at CSU, Accuweather’s Joe Bastardi, TSR, FSU COAPS, and the UK MetOffice ALL prognosticating well-above average activity, the Atlantic will need to start ramping up quickly.  With this season, let’s hope the consensus forecast is wrong!


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Wanna bet? 🙂

Everyone also forecast a big season in 2006, which didn’t happen.


As an experienced commodity trader (weather influences prices), I can tell you that NOAA’s seasonal predictions now have near zero credibility in this business. Flip a coin.

Nolo Contendere

Unfortunately, NOAA has been busily damaging their reputation with their active participation in the AGW hoax, so most of uis no longer take them seriously. They don’t have a very good track record on hurricane predictions in any case. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a goodly number of stroms the rest of the season, but my gut feeling is that the forecasters are wrong on the high side as far as total ACE goes.

Pamela Gray

The fly in the ointment would be the occurrence of Arctic Oscillation changes. This event can bring storms onto the seaboard instead of into the Gulf.

Pamela Gray
Tom in Florida

Would the very short lived TS Colin have been counted or even noticed without satellite data?

my prediction is we will be average this year!


As someone who spent considerable time as a bureaucrat, I can assure you that any government employee with any sense is always going to predict doom and gloom over sweetness and light. If you go with doom and gloom and nothing happens, you get teased a little. If you go for sweetness and no hurricanes and just one of the b#st@rds shows up, you end up in the papers.
Easy decision.

I don’t think a lot of people are paying too much attention to this yet. I bet this changes soon (or at least I hope so) as the tropics are coming alive. The potential for a couple of monster storms to impact the US Gulf & Atlantic coastline’s, is definitely there. Time to pay attention folks.

Gary Pearse

I have to hand it to NOAA, they are gutsy in exposed situations like forecasting hurricanes where the numbers are in a couple of months – unlike the we-will-all-be-dead forecasts for the climate. I thought they would chop their forecasts down a lot more than they did.


They need to have a word with the UK Met Office, looks like a good time to give up the forecasting business.


What does ACE look like so far?

Steven Bellner

Isn’t every year “above-average?”


Tom in Florida:
Not only would Colin not have been noticed or counted 50 years ago; neither would Bonnie. The day Bonnie went through here was more calm and less rainy than our usual summer day.


Our advice: When drinking a cup of coffee or tea, do not stir it up too much, NOAA will appear and name it.

Joe Bastardi reminds us that La Nina years have a tendency of slow starts. He explains why in a video he posted today. A must see for everybody.
Another good thing about the video is that outspoken Joe reminds us that La Nina is a factor but not a cause of an active hurricane season. The most active recorded year was not a La Nina year. The last La Nina was a minor hurricane season.

MattN says:
August 5, 2010 at 9:49 am
What does ACE look like so far?
As of August 5, it is 7.395.


If the remnant low of Colin reforms into another closed low wouldn’t it get a new name also? Danielle…

When Colin reforms later in the week, will they count it twice?

John S.

I’ll trust Joe Bastardi at <a href="" before I trust NOAA.
Joe predicts an 18-21 named storm season.
Good enough for me.

Frank K.

stevengoddard says:
August 5, 2010 at 10:08 am
“When Colin reforms later in the week, will they count it twice?”
You know, I was wondering what happened to Colin…if you blink, you’ll miss these storms!


Well, Larry. It may be worth a thousand words, but what did you have in mind? Potassium levels measured in glaciers show that there have always been and will always be forest fires, regardless of prevailing climate. Was that your point?

Kevin G

If Colin reorganizes, it will not count twice or be renamed, it is the same system. However, if a system dissipates and moves in to the Eastern Pacific, and reforms, it will be renamed.

My comments last night from Tips & Notes:
Wow – that’s a simple update. The latest Colo State Klotzbach & Gray hurricane forecast is out and is essentially unchanged from their June 2nd forecast. Hmm, completely unchanged. They’re still predicting 195% of average activity and note that The 2010 Atlantic basin hurricane season had approximately average tropical cyclone activity, based on the ACE index, during June and July.
(In my parallel universe, the hurricane season doesn’t start until July. Maybe mid-July. Maybe August. And things don’t get exciting until September.)
They are also still predicting a very active Carribbean.
The source of the August forecast is data newer than the June forecast, of course.
The two key predictors for a strong season are the June-July SLP [sea level pressure] (10-25°N, 10-60°W) and June-July SST (sea surface temp) (5°S-5°N, 90-150°W). [Note – there’s cool water on the Atlantic map, but it’s north of Cape Verde storm spawning grounds.] A predictor calling for a weaker season is Pre-1 August Named Storm Days – South of 23.5°N, East of 75°W (0 days).
So watch and wait….
They’ve started shortterm forecasts too. For the next two weeks, see
We expect that the next two weeks will be characterized by heightened amounts (130 percent or more) of activity relative to climatology. This period typically has only about 1/3 the activity of the peak couple of weeks in September.

Jim Arndt

This is from Ryan N. Maue’s 2010 Global Tropical Cyclone Activity Update
“Colin and Bonnie both go into the books as a couple of the weakest, shortest-lived tropical cyclones on record.
August and September will have to be record activity for the hurricane forecasts to pan out in the North Atlantic ”

Rick K

NOAA predicting hurricanes in summer? Incredible! What next?


If the models are correct in the hurricane season forming late (october-november) because of La Nina, it means that the Eastern Pacific is likely stuck in it’s present reversal (the Pacific NW high is presently a low).
Local meteorologist scratches head nightly on news, as the 3rd week of delta breezes coming through SF Bay Area are highly unusual.
But then, if you examine what has transpired in the Western US the last 3 years, the weather patterns have been getting stuck more than they have been moving along.
About a year ago, someone mentioned a meridonial flow vs zonal flow.
Poor old zonal flow it ain’t what it used to be.

Comments on other comments:
Enneagram says:
August 5, 2010 at 9:11 am
> Wanna bet? 🙂
No – its remarkable seasonal forecasts can hit the side of a barn. Too many things can change mid season.
stevengoddard says:
August 5, 2010 at 9:14 am
> Everyone also forecast a big season in 2006, which didn’t happen.
It took me years before I even bothered to look at Bill Gray’s forecasts. Even when they blow it, I find their analysis before and post mortem afterwards fascinating. Then again, I have lived in areas mildly affected by Atlantic hurricanes my whole life.
My memory is fuzzy, but 2006 may have been the year an El Nino formed and wiped out the second half of the hurricane season. (One reason I don’t bet on seasonal hurricane forecasts!)
Steven Bellner says:
August 5, 2010 at 9:50 am
> Isn’t every year “above-average?”
In 1995 the AMO flipped and we entered a new period of high activity, similar to that in the late 1930s to mid 1950s. It will be a few more years before the AMO flips back and we enter another stretch where each year is more likely to be below average.
cotwome says:
August 5, 2010 at 10:07 am
> If the remnant low of Colin reforms into another closed low wouldn’t it get a new name also?
No, it will still be Colin. Klotzbach & Gray refer to it in their two week outlook. I haven’t paid any attention to Colin, I don’t even know what longitude it’s at. In some big years everything seemed to want to bounce back – a storm could be shredded by windshear back to a tropical wave and still managed to come back. In lame years it seems a struggle to make it to TS status and then they fall apart.

John Blake

Cooling sea-surface temperatures (SSTs) precipitated by La Nina episodes generally result in fewer major storms because less hot air spirals up to draw relatively cold air-masses underneath. Over-simplified, perhaps, but as PDO et al. enters a pronounced chill-phase, odds are that 2010’s six-month hurricane season will be relatively muted. The fact that NOAA continues to push discredited projections, as the agency has for some years now, contributes to a sense that such official bodies prefer Warmist propaganda to any objective or even rational assessment of Earth’s global trends.


my money is still on the monkey… Dr. Hansimian.


It would be much better for the devastated Florida economy if they would cite the extended solar minimum as reasoning for fewer hurricanes. The economy and real estate is a disaster. I don’t expect another severe hurricane season till we get a solar max similar to the last. That seems to be at least a decade or two off. Some people here are praying for another Andrew or Charley just to drum up work. Odds of that happening dwindle each year the solar minimum continues.


My horse is also Dr. Hansimian. I hope he is doing well, he might be our best climate predictor for the future!


Jim Cantore ain’t got nothin to do. Boo Hoo.

ACE to date. Alex 7+; Bonnie ~0.5; total ~8. If Colin reforms, it will still be Colin. Average ACE for NA ~100. 2005 ~250. Anyone seen a new prediction for the ACE? Before it was between 250 and 275.


Based on known real science I would tend to agree with those predicting a busy 2nd half of the hurricane season.
BUT, what about poorly known science?? So far this solar minimum the hurricane seasons have been below normal in spite of all other indicators. If this season comes in at even the average it would again indicate that the conventional indicators are missing something. I would point to the still quite low AP index. Yup, I tend to believe that electromagnetism has a bit to do with hurricane development.
This page has some interesting theories and data on hurricanes and tornadoes:

David, UK

“Other climate factors pointing to an active hurricane season are warmer-than-average water in the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean…”
Slightly O.T. – I’m sure I’m not the first to ponder on this; but given that since coming out of the mini-ice age the world temperature has gone up and down and up and down – but generally (on average) *up* at a fairly constant rate regardless of CO2 levels, surely one could pick any point in time (randomly) and find plenty of geographical locations somewhere or other with examples of “highest temperatures since records began” – as well as plenty of examples of “lowest temperatures since records began” – just like today? My point is, has the exercise been done, and can it be shown that today really is not anything special compared to the rest of the post-mini-ice age record?

David, UK

Dang, it all ended up in itallics (as opposed to just the quote at the beginning) – maybe the mods could kindly fix my last comment?
Sorry for the trouble.

Henry chance

Dr. Hansimian
Which one? Dr Joe Hansimiam or Dr James Hansimiam?

Mike Ford

It was not Tropical Storm Colin. It was Thunderstorm Colin. Just like Bonnie was Thunderstorm Bonnie…barely.


“………said Jane Lubchenco”
I am not interested in what that woman says.


David, UK says:
August 5, 2010 at 11:17 am
David, have you seen the Dr. Robert Carter’s videos on Youtube?
He is a nice man with his head in the right place. He may sound a bit angry in this video, my opinion is he has every right to be angry . The anger is towards the International Panel of Climate Crooks, the IPCC;
(Four parts, here is part one;)

Kevin G

John Blake, please stop, you sound like you have no idea what you are talking about. There are weak teleconnections between El Nino/La Nina and the Atlantic atmospheric circulation patterns that could influence SSTs in the Atlantic Basin, but La Nina is a condition where Tropical Pacific SSTs are below normal. This has nothing to do with “less hot air spirals up to draw relatively cold air-masses underneath” or whatever you are talking about as far as the Atlantic hurricane season is concerned. The main influence of ENSO on the Atlantic hurricane season is the presence of a shear environment, not SST.
And I wouldn’t go so far as to say NOAA puts out “discredited” forecasts. These come from CPC and NHC, whose primary task is to make short-term climate predictions based on current and near-past conditions and trends, and NEVER have I seen CPC or NHC steer into the “Global Warming is causing more frequent and intense hurricanes” camp….these are spurned from other NOAA offices and external institutions. Thus these generalized insults about tropical storm forecasts are unfounded. You mine as well label every 5-day or 2-day forecast from TV or NWS meteorologists or elsewhere as discredited. I am not going to sit here and tell you that every CPC 3-month or even 6-10 day forecasts, or NHC hurricane outlooks ever verify, but these are the last organizations in NOAA that want politicization to influence their forecasts. If you’ve ever actually interacted with any forecasters (which I doubt you have), you’d see that they take their job very seriously and honestly try to put out the best products they can, because they know they will have a large impact.


Am I mistaken or has NOAA changed their closing line: “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.”
Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago that they were very boastfully stating “NOAA understands and predicts…”?????


Pardon my ignorance but could this year be different than most La Nina’s? It seems to me that the jet stream has a much greater north-south component that it has had in recent years. This is seen in the extremes of the heat and cold aroun the globe. If the jet stream reaches further south than normal, is it likely that we’ll see tropical lows and tropical storms developing that get blown apart before they can really get up to speed. Could this greater than normal north-south amplitude of the jet stream be due to due to unusual arctic conditions? I’m don’t know, I just asking.


How much are you getting paid for this blog? You just said more in 2 paragraphs (and clearer as well) than all of NOAA did in all their ramblings. My first question was answered before I could ask it – by you!

frederik wisse

Being a skeptical observer at the side-line I noticed that the first storm of the season cooled the waters around the yucatan peninsula to values well below the average sea-surface temperatures measured during the last decennia . What is happening at the same time ? A strong influx of cooler than average sea-surface water south of west africa at the same time reaching now well into the atlantic ocean and moving further westward out of the africa surroundings . The african La Nina ? Moreover the area with a sea-surface anomaly of more than 1,5 degrees is slowly but securely shrinking without any influence of a strong mid-atlantic storm . Now what is new ? GFS on its newest northern hemisphere temperature anomaly projections is forecasting together with excessive heat for russia also temperatures around the west african basin of around 10 degrees fahrenheit below normal and this for a longer period of time . Since hurricanes are powered by high ocean surface temperatures together with high temperature differences in the atmosphere itself , my forecast of two months ago still stands , only some storms , next to no hurricanes and no mayor hurricanes . In fact any day the season progresses the chances of hurricanes to develop are becoming smaller while the conditions will slowly but securely get more unfavourable . Much of the african heat , a mayor katalist of the atlantic hurricanes ,
is nowadays exiled into russia , where the longer nights will slowly but steadily radiate this heat into the outer space around the earth . This same heat previously for a large part absorbed by the ocean waters cannot do two things at the same time ,
is also responsible for a relative cooling of the oceans . Any neutral observer studying the daily oceantemperature anomalies by unisys can follow this event .
By russia taking the heat the us could escape the doomsday prophecies ?


Their ultimate computer model: A self indulging model.