Confidence Increases for Active Hurricane Season
The Atlantic Ocean is now quiet after five early-season tropical storms, two of which (Bertha and Dolly) reached hurricane strength. It was the third most active July since 1886 for tropical cyclones in the Atlantic, and that combined with favorable atmospheric and oceanic conditions has given forecasters from NOAA and Colorado State University higher confidence in calling for more named storms than usual. (A storm receives a name if it reaches tropical storm strength -- sustained winds of 39 mph or more.)
In its August forecast update, NOAA now projects an 85% chance of an above-normal season, with a 67% chance of 14 to 18 named storms (up from 12 to 16 in its May forecast), of which 7 to 10 are predicted to become hurricanes (up from 6 to 9). Meanwhile, CSU has increased its predictions to 17 named storms (up from 15 in its June forecast) and 9 hurricanes (up from 8).
It should be noted that forecasts for the previous three hurricane seasons (2005, 2006 and 2007) were significantly off target.
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