Hurricane experts at Colorado State University have significantly upgraded their predictions for the current hurricane season. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean Florida is doomed.
William Gray—noted for his annual forecast—now predicts 20 named storms, including 10 hurricanes, and 6 major hurricanes. That’s up from 15 storms, 8 hurricanes and 4 major ones.
Gray says most of the factors he looks at seem to indicate more tropical activity than he first forecast in May.
We had forecast a pretty active season then, but since then unbelievably we’ve had 7 named storms with another one now in early August forming, Harvey, and perhaps another one. So this is shaping up as a very active season. We don’t expect Florida to be hit by anything like the activity last year.”
Factors like warmer temperatures in the Atlantic, lower surface pressure, low vertical wind shear, and lots of rain in Western Africa contribute to the revised forecast. Gray says the period from August 20th to October 20th tends to be the height of hurricane season for Florida. He describes Dennis and Emily - 2 major storms before August 1st – as VERY rare. Spokesman for Collier County’s Emergency Operations Center - Jim von Rinteln – says it’s not unusual for forecasters to update their predictions mid-season. But, he says, predictions don’t have much impact on how his EOC prepares.
“Slow season or busy season doesn’t really matter in the sense that Andrew happened during a slow season in 1992. We can look at the 2003 hurricane season – which was a busy season with 15 named storms – and none of them came ashore. So from that standpoint, it wasn’t a big impact on Florida or for the continental U.S. So it really doesn’t matter if it’s a busy or slow year, it really depends on whether one affects your neighborhood.”
According to Gray’s updated forecast – there’s a 77 percent chance of an “intense” hurricane hitting the U.S. during the remainder of the 2005 season.
Monday, 08 August 2005 01:00