Let’s Check the Revised Predictions for the 2013 Hurricane Season!

By Vernon Trollinger, June 12, 2013, Hurricane Prep, News

Sandy_Oct28_2012June 1 was the start of the 2013 Hurricane Season. Just before the Memorial Day break, the National Oceanic and Atmospherice Administration (NOAA) published predictions that this year’s hurricane season will be “active or extremely active.” NOAA predicts a 70% chance for 13- 20 named storms. Of these, 7 to 11 could grow to hurricane strength and include 3-6 major hurricanes (Category 3-5).

Not to be out done as far as being active, Colorado State University’s (CSU) Tropical Meteorology Project also released a revised forecast on June 3 that backs up their April predictions stating that Texas and Florida could likely bear the brunt of the storm landfalls.

With the heartland and East Coast recently deluged by wind and water, it’s important to remember that tropical storm and hurricanes effect inlands areas and not just the coastline. Tornadoes, strong winds, and torrential rains that cause flooding often threaten inland areas.

First, let’s look how NOAA’s predictions for the 2013 Hurricane Season stack up against Weather Services International (WSI), Tropical Storm Risk (TSR) of University College London, and CSU’s newly revised prediction.

NOAA Prediction CSU Prediction WSI Prediction TSR Prediction Seasonal Average
Number of named storms (winds 39 mph+) 13 to 20 18 16 15 12
Storms becoming hurricanes (winds 74 mph+) 7 to 11 9 9 7-8 6
Major hurricanes (Cat. 3, 4 or 5, winds 111 mph+) 3 to 6 4 5 3 3

Common to all these forecasts are three primary features.

First is that the west African monsoon pattern has remained unchanged since 1995, according to the NOAA. Dry, hot wind blowing southwesterly from the Sahara picks up moisture from the Atlantic ocean and forms storms.

Next is that the sea surface temperatures (SST) in the Atlantic Ocean at the equator are warmer than average —indicating that ocean water will more easily evaporate as the hot, dry African winds blow across it. The CSU reports states, “Significant anomalous warming occurred during the early part of the spring in the tropical Atlantic. SSTs in the western tropical Atlantic are at near-average values, while the eastern tropical Atlantic is now significantly above average.” (Check out this animated loop of SST)

As a result, storms will form more quickly and tend to grow larger.

Lastly, the current El Nino conditions remain neutral. El Nino is an event in the eastern Pacific where warm water concentrates near mid-December. This year, however, SST in Pacific west of Peru and Ecuador where El Nino typically occurs are close to average. El Nino warming the ocean surface (or even La Nina when cold) influences wind circulation patterns all across across the equator. Because of the weak El Nino effect in the Pacific, winds off the west African coast tend to be calmer and cannot deflect the hot Sahara winds heading out to sea.

This also helps storms have an easier time of organizing and forming than in past years.

Remember, you and your family can stay informed through the Bounce Energy Hurricane Prep Center for hurricane preparedness resources so that you can prepare for a hurricane, and read the latest information about revised predictions throughout the 2013 Hurricane Season. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for Smartphone alerts and get all the other important news about what’s happening if a hurricane strikes and how to keep your family safe!

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