BLOG: Above normal hurricane season, so far

August updates from NOAA and Colorado State

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HOUSTON - NOAA issued an update Thursday for their seasonal forecast, showing a small reduction in the high end of their forecast.

NOAA forecasts a range of values to give us a feel for the uncertainty inherent in seasonal forecasting, and while still forecasting very active season, have somewhat reduced the high-end of the range.

They cited the following reasons for the downward projection:

"A decreased likelihood that La Niña will develop and bring its reduced wind shear that further strengthens the hurricane season. Other factors are the lack of hurricanes through July, more variability in the wind patterns across the tropical Atlantic Ocean and slightly lower hurricane season model predictions."

Last week, Dr. Phil Klotsbach and Dr. William Gray from Colorado State University issued their August update for the remainder of the 2013 hurricane season.  They only lowered the forecast slightly – predicting one less hurricane and one less major hurricane than in their June forecast.  The factor in their technique suggesting slightly less activity is cooler than expected ocean temperatures currently over the Atlantic east of the Caribbean.

We should not be lulled by the slight lowering of the numbers, as this forecast calls for well above normal activity during the rest of August, September and October. Indeed, another 12 to 14 storms in the next 12 weeks would keep forecasters busy.  As always, these forecasts cannot specify where storms will hit. 

Also, 30 years ago this August we took a direct hit from category 3 Hurricane Alicia in a season with only four named storms and only one major hurricane.

Currently, the tropical Atlantic remains quiet.  Weather forecast models suggest it will remain that way for the next week or so. 

By next weekend, models hint that a more favorable environment for the formation of storms will be in place -- right on schedule for the ramp up of the most active part of the season.

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