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Forecast: Active hurricane season

The 2007 Atlantic hurricane season will see 17 named storms, nine of which will become hurricanes, according to forecasters at Colorado State University.


The 2007 Atlantic hurricane season will see 17 named storms, nine of which will become hurricanes, forecasters at Colorado State University predicted Tuesday. Five of the nine hurricanes will be Category 3 or above, the team said.

CSU researchers announce their predictions several times each year. Their latest prediction was an increase over the 2007 season forecast released in December.

"We are calling for a very active hurricane season this year, but not as active as the 2004 or 2005 seasons," said Phil Klotzbach of the CSU team in a news release. "Based on our latest forecast, the probability of a major hurricane making landfall along the U.S. coastline is 74 percent, compared with the last-century average of 52 percent."

Klotzbach said the rapid dissipation of El Nino weather patterns this winter caused the increase in the prediction.

"We do not think (El Nino is) going to be an inhibiting factor this year," he said. "Also, we have warm Atlantic sea surface temperatures this year, which we've seen just about every year since 1995."

The 2006 Atlantic hurricane season saw no U.S. hurricane landfalls despite predictions that it would be an active season. This season, the CSU team predicted a 50 percent chance that a major hurricane will make landfall on the U.S. East Coast - including the Florida peninsula - and that the Caribbean is also at an above-average risk for a major hurricane landfall.

"The 2006 season was only the 12th year since 1945 that the United States witnessed no hurricane landfalls," Klotzbach said. "Since then, we have had only two consecutive-year periods where there were no hurricane landfalls - 1981-1982 and 2000-2001."

British forecasters from the group Tropical Storm Risk last week also called for very active hurricane season, predicting the same number of named storms and hurricanes as the CSU team.

AccuWeather forecaster Joe Bastardi released his prediction this week as well. He said what was more important than the number of storms was their intensity. He called the various prediction numbers a "red herring," noting that destructive hurricanes have struck the U.S. in past seasons with a low number of total hurricanes.

Bastardi warned that areas hit hard in 2004 and 2005 are again at major risk of being hit again this season.

CSU forecast team member and hurricane scientist William Gray reiterated that the increase in storms over the past several seasons has not yet been linked to "human-induced global warming."

"Although global surface temperatures have increased over the last century and over the last 30 years, there is no reliable data available to indicate increased hurricane frequency or intensity in any of the globe's several tropical cyclone basins, except for the Atlantic over the last 12 years," he said.

"Meteorologists who study tropical cyclones have no valid physical theory as to why hurricane frequency or intensity would necessarily be altered significantly by small amounts of global mean temperature change."

The CSU team's next prediction is scheduled for May 31, the day before the Atlantic hurricane season begins.

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Related Links:

Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project

Tropical Storm Risk

AccuWeather: Joe Bastardi on the 2007 Atlantic Hurricane Season

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