April 17, 2013

2013 Hurricane Forecast

According to Colorado State University climatologists Phil Klotzbach and Bill Gray, those living in hurricane zones along the East Coast and Gulf Coast are in for another long year. The extended range Atlantic Basin hurricane forecast indicates “enhanced activity” compared with recent (1981-2010) historical climate data.

2013 Atlantic Basin Seasonal Hurricane Forecast Specs
  • Named Storms: 18
  • Hurricanes: 9
  • Major Hurricanes (Category 3 or higher): 4
Probabilities For At Least One Major Hurricane
To Make Landfall On The Following Coastal Areas
  • Entire U.S. coastline: 72% (average for last century is 52%)
  • U.S. East Coast Including Florida Peninsula: 48% (average for last century is 31%)
  • Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle westward to Brownsville, TX: 47% (average for last century is 30%)
Click here to see entire extended range forecast document.

There are two primary reasons for the above normal forecast:
1. Warmer than average waters.
2. Lack of an El Nino.

Strong high pressure over Greenland allowed a trough of low pressure to develop along the eastern seaboard that produced a sustained chill. Meanwhile, beneath the high pressure system, the air was sinking, warming and hardly moving, producing ideal conditions for ocean warming. Much of the Main Development Region (MDR) between Africa and the Lesser Antilles, where most of the big hurricanes form, is already several degrees above average.

Warmer water provides more fuel for tropical systems. An El Nino during the hurricane season produces more wind shear that tends to tear systems apart, reducing the number of storms that form.

Unfortunately, the waters off of South America have been cooling, suggesting an El Nino is unlikely to be present during the heart of hurricane season.

Wild cards for the 2013 hurricane season include how unstable the air will be and how much dust will blow into the Atlantic ocean from Africa. Low instability and lots of dust severely inhibit tropical storm growth while unstable air and little dust promote tropical storm growth. It’s simply too early to know how these features will impact the hurricane season.

Forecasts like this give us a good idea of how many storms will form, but cannot accurately predict if or where a storm will make landfall.

By: Growing Produce Staff and Ed Piotrowski, Chief Meteorologist for WPDE


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