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article imageNOAA issues a revised hurricane forecast you don't want to hear

By Karen Graham     Aug 6, 2020 in Environment
Already smashing records, this year’s hyperactive Atlantic hurricane season is about to get even nastier, forecasters predict. We can expect 19 to 25 named storms this season, according to NOAA.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) updated its seasonal hurricane forecast on Thursday, and it concurs with Colorado State University's updated forecast, released on Tuesday. NOAA also increased the chance of an above average hurricane season from 60 to 85 percent, according to the Associated Press.
The agency is predicting 19 to 25 named storms — seven to 11 of them to become hurricanes and three to six of those to become major hurricanes with winds of at least 111 mph (178 kph). Basically, the number of hurricanes anticipated this year has doubled.
If the forecast holds true, 2020 would be the second most active Atlantic hurricane season, behind only the record-shattering 2005 season which brought Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma, CBS News is reporting.
View of flooded New Orleans  Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina on September 11  2005.
View of flooded New Orleans, Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina on September 11, 2005.
Commander Mark Moran, of the NOAA Aviation Weather Center, and Lt. Phil Eastman and Lt. Dave Demers,
The 2005 and 2017 hurricane seasons
The 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was the most active Atlantic hurricane season in recorded history, shattering numerous records, with 31 tropical or subtropical cyclones recorded, according to NOAA meteorological records.
A record 15 storms attained hurricane status, with maximum sustained winds of at least 74 mph (119 km/h); of those, a record seven became major hurricanes, which are a Category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Four of the season's storms became a Category 5 hurricane, the highest ranking on the scale.
The season's impact was widespread and catastrophic. Its storms caused an estimated 3,912 deaths and approximately $171.7 billion in damage. It was the costliest season on record at the time, until its record was surpassed by the 2017 hurricane season that racked up damages totaling at least $294.92 billion.
People are transported down a road flooded by Hurricane Maria in Catano  Puerto Rico  on September 2...
People are transported down a road flooded by Hurricane Maria in Catano, Puerto Rico, on September 21, 2017
HECTOR RETAMAL, AFP
Colorado State University, which pioneered hurricane season forecasts decades ago, amped its forecast to 24 named storms, 12 hurricanes and 5 major hurricanes on Tuesday — all higher than their June forecast, reports CNN. Nine named storms have already formed during the season, which ends November 30.
"Overall, we increased the other forecast numbers because overall conditions look even more conducive than they did a few weeks ago," says Phil Klotzbach, a CSU meteorologist who worked on the forecast. CSU meteorologists cite water temperature and wind shear as key indicators in predicting the strength of a hurricane season.
"Vertical wind shear is extremely critical for hurricanes in the Atlantic," Klotzbach said. "Strong vertical wind shear, the change in wind direction with height, tears apart hurricanes and disrupts their intensification." And of course, areas with low wind shear allow hurricanes to grow and intensify.
However the season goes, it is suggested that those people who may be in the path of a possible hurricane follow NOAA's suggested advice: "Now is the time to organize family plans and make necessary preparations."
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