U.S. hurricane prediction points to a more active season

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting an Atlantic hurricane season more active than earlier estimates.

The agency said the Atlantic season this year may see as many as six major storms.

The agency said Thursday there is a 70 percent chance that 13 to 20 named storms will form in the Atlantic Ocean this season. It says as many as 11 of them could strengthen into hurricanes, storms with winds of 119 kph or higher.

The forecasters say they cannot predict if any of those storms will strike land.

The agency known as NOAA says warmer than average waters in the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic along with other atmospheric conditions make it ripe for an active hurricane season. The agency says it is committed to providing life-saving forecasts.

The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1. In mid-April the Colorado State University forecasting team said that there would be eight named storms, nine of which will be hurricanes.

Of the hurricanes they said they see two major ones.

The higher activity than the 1981 to 2010 average is due to warmer ocean surface temperatures and the lack of an El Niño condition, said the forecast.

Last season was similar and saw two major hurricanes, 19 named storms and 10 hurricanes. Many dissipated in the open Atlantic.

The forecast is important to Costa Rica, because the country feels the backlash of strong storms even if the actual hurricane does not enter the country.

The Colorado researchers are Philip J. Klotzbach and William M. Gray. Gray has been making fairly accurate predictions for 29 years.

The Pacific hurricane season began May 15. Both seasons end Nov. 30. However, it is not unusual for a storm to ignore the calendar.

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