Less Hurricanes This Year, Hopefully


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center has amended the 2015 Hurricane Season forecast.
The hurricane season runs from 1 June to 30 November, and the Center issued the annual forecast for the hurricane season in May but now has since made some amendments to the predictions.
In May, the Center predicted that there was a 70 percent likelihood of six to eleven named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which three to six could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including zero to two major hurricanes (category three, four or five; winds of 111 mph or higher).
Now, it is suggested that there is a 90 percent chance of a below-normal hurricane season. In fact the new 90 percent probability of a below-normal season, is the highest confidence level given by NOAA since seasonal hurricane outlooks began in 1998.
The new forecast also lowers the predicted storm activity for the season. There is now one less predicted named storm, which equates to six to ten named storms as opposed to the six to 11 that were announced in May. Of the named storms it is expected that one to four will become hurricanes as opposed to the three-six mentioned earlier in the year.
Most important is the prediction that zero to one of the named storms will become a major hurricane; a change from the zero to two May prediction.
Nonetheless, Gerry Bell, Ph.D., Lead Seasonal Hurricane Forecaster with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center announced that the forecast does not mean that there is room for complacency.
“Tropical storms and hurricanes can, and do strike the United States even in below-normal seasons; and during El Niño events… Regardless of our call for below-normal storm activity, people along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts should remain prepared and vigilant, especially now that the peak months of the hurricane season have started,” he explained. Since the May predictions, two tropical storms struck the United States — Ana in South Carolina in May, and Bill in Texas in June.