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Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 08/ 8/2008

Confidence Increases for Active Hurricane Season

By Dan Stillman

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.

For local weather, see our full forecast into early next week, SkinsCast for Saturday's preseason Redskins home opener, and our Virgin Mobile Festival forecast.

By Dan Stillman  | August 8, 2008; 10:45 AM ET
Categories:  Tropical Weather  
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Quote from Post writer Amy Shipley about the weather in Beijing:

"A panel of weather experts predicted earlier this week that August would be hotter and rainier than usual, a bit disconcerting given that midday norms for this month are about 85 degrees with 90 percent humidity."

Amy needs a weather seminar from the CWG!


Posted by: AC | August 8, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Increased Atlantic/Caribbean activity is to be expected during a La Nina season. Right now, though, we seem to have an "El Nino" tropical setup with areas east of the Central American isthmus quiet and tropical action west of the isthmus in the East Pacific.

Posted by: El Bombo | August 8, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

NOAA forecasts last year and in 2006 projected a greater chance of an above-average season and, in reality, the Atlantic had an average season both seasons-- your view is "significantly off target" but my view is it could have been worse (i.e. a below-average season). In 2005 NOAA predicted an above-average season as well and they were right.

However, over the long term, NOAA's seasonal hurricane forecast record has been exceptional. I understand folks expect perfection from climate forecasts, but reality is that will likely never be the case. The public/media needs to be aware that NOAA's forecasts are probabilistic (i.e. this year there is an 85% chance of an above-average season) and that means there is a % chance that it will be average or even below-average.

Posted by: science observer | August 8, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

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