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Hurricane predictions lowered

'Active season' still expected, August may be busy.

BY HEATHER MOYER | FT. COLLINS, Colo. | August 3, 2007

The number of storms forecast for the Atlantic basin has been lowered by Colorado State University meteorologists.

Phili Klotzbach and William Gray of the university's Tropical Meteorology Project lowered the forecast to call for 13 more named storms this season, down from 17 in their last issued forecast on May 31. The report also said the number of hurricanes this season will be 8 instead of the originally predicted 9.

"We continue to call for a very active Atlantic basin hurricane season in 2007," the two said in the report issued Friday. "Landfall probabilities for the United States coastline remain above their long-period averages."

Three named storms already appeared in the Atlantic this season - Andrea, Barry and Chantal. None made it past Tropical Storm strength or impacted the U.S. significantly.

Klotzbach and Gray's new forecast also said of the 8 hurricanes predicted for the remainder of the season, 4 will be intense - meaning Category 3, 4 or 5.

August is still expected to be the month with the most potential for strong storms, though, according to the report. The two cited several reasons for the not-so-active first two months of the season.

"We have lowered our forecast from our early April and late May predictions due to slightly less favorable conditions in the tropical Atlantic," said the two in the forecast.

"Sea surface temperature anomalies have cooled across the tropical Atlantic in recent weeks, and there have been several significant dust outbreaks from Africa, signifying a generally stable air mass over the tropical Atlantic. (El Nino) conditions have trended slightly cooler over the past few weeks. We expect either cool neutral or weak La Nina conditions to be present during the upcoming hurricane season."

The forecast also cautioned residents in coastal states to be prepared no matter what the landfall probabilities are for their location.

"These forecasts do not specifically predict where within the Atlantic basin these storms will strike. The probability of landfall for any one location along the coast is very low and reflects the fact that, in any one season, most U.S. coastal areas will not feel the effects of a hurricane no matter how active the individual season is.

"However, it must also be emphasized that a low landfall probability does not insure that hurricanes will not come ashore. Regardless of how active the 2007 hurricane season is, a finite probability always exists that one or more hurricanes may strike along the U.S. coastline or in the Caribbean Basin and do much damage."

This is the 24th year that the Tropical Meteorology Project has issued hurricane forecasts. The Atlantic Hurricane Season began June 1 and ends November 30.

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