Friday, May 28, 2010

This Hurricane Season Could Be Busy!

At least that's what NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is thinking! They issued their 2010 Atlantic hurricane season outlook yesterday.
The outlook calls for:

  • 14 to 23 named storms (this includes tropical storms and hurricanes)
  • 8 to 14 hurricanes
  • 4 to 7 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4, or 5)

Why does NOAA think it could be such a busy season? Well, there are a couple of reasons.

Hurricane Ike - 2008

The first reason is warm Atlantic Ocean water, which serves as fuel for tropical systems. Right now, sea surface temperatures are 4 degrees warmer than average in areas where storms generally develop. Second, El Nino has dissipated, which means less wind shear at the upper levels of the atmosphere. Wind shear often keeps tropical systems from developing vertically and therefore intensifying. Last, we continue to be in a high activity era. Since 1995, 8 of the last 15 seasons have ranked in the top ten for having the most named storms. That being said, last hurricane season was quiet with only one storm, Tropical Storm Claudette, making landfall in the United States.

While all the main ingredients look to be in place for the upcoming hurricane season, we'll still just have to wait and see. We need to be ready for any tropical systems Mother Nature may send our way this year.

Meteorologist Sonya Stevens


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