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Hurricane forecasters predict busy year

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013 10:31 a.m. CST

(MCT) FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Several experts call for an active storm season, not just government forecasters or those at Colorado State University. However, some don’t expect the tropics to be much busier than normal.

For example, Tropical Storm Risk, a British private forecasting firm, predicts 14.8 named storms and 6.9 hurricanes, with three of those being intense. The average year sees 12 named storms, including six hurricanes, three major — and four named storms already have emerged.

Just the same, in terms of hurricane activity, all the teams foresee a busy year.

“As we stand on the cusp of the peak part of hurricane season, all of the major groups that perform long-range seasonal hurricane forecasts are still calling for an active 2013 Atlantic hurricane season,” said Jeff Masters, chief meteorologist of Weather Underground, an online weather site.

Though their numbers might differ, about a dozen forecast teams expect the same basic atmospheric factors to brew up an active season, primarily low wind shear and warm waters in the main storm development region of the Atlantic.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Colorado State University’s Phil Klotzbach and William Gray, considered the two premier forecast teams, both lowered their initial projections earlier this month. But both still expect the tropics to be significantly busier than normal.

NOAA now calls for 13 to 19 named storms, including six to nine hurricanes, and CSU calls for 18 named storms, including eight hurricanes. Both said they don’t expect El Nino, the atmospheric force that inhibits storm formation, to emerge this year.

When all the tropical forecasts are thrown together, they average out to 16 named storms, including eight hurricanes, four major, according to Masters. Since 1995, when the era of tropical intensity started, the average season has seen 15 named storms, including eight hurricanes, four major.

Some of the other forecasts include: Florida State University, 12 to 17 named storms, including five to 10 hurricanes; and Penn State, 16 named storms, plus or minus four storms.

Also: North Carolina State University, 15 named storms, including 8.5 hurricanes, 4.5 intense; Coastal Carolina University: 15 named storms, including eight hurricanes, four intense; and the United Kingdom’s Met Office: 14 named storms, including nine hurricanes.

Before the season started, when atmospheric conditions were largely a question mark, both AccuWeather.com and WSI, part of The Weather Channel, called for 16 named storms.

No matter how many storms are predicted, experts urge residents to prepare with the assumption that at least one hurricane will strike their area.

“The peak of the hurricane season is almost upon us and it’s important to remain prepared for hurricanes through November,” said Joe Nimmich, FEMA associate administrator for response and recovery.

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©2013 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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