Thursday, May 27, 2010

2010 Hurricane Outlook: Heckuva Season, Brownie!

The 2010 hurricane season outlook, released this morning by NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, calls for an 85% chance of above-average tropical activity. This would make the upcoming season the busiest since the record year of 2005, which had 28 named storms. NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco said, "If this outlook holds true, this season could be one of the more active on record." The forecast includes a 70% probability of the following ranges (historical averages in the middle and right columns):

Forecast Long-term 1995-2009
Named Storms 14-23 11 14.5
Hurricanes 8-14 6 8
Major Hurricanes 3-7 2 4

The major factors expected to produce the high level of tropical activity are:
  • Favorable upper level winds: Wind shear (change in wind with height) is expected to be low since the El Niño conditions in the equatorial Pacific have dissipated.
  • Warm sea surface temperatures: Atlantic Ocean temperatures are at record high levels, as much as 4° above average.
  • Continuing high activity era: Eight of the 15 seasons since 1995 are in the top 10 list for named storms.
As far as storm landfalls are concerned, NOAA's outlook says that "it is currently not possible to reliably predict the number or intensity of landfalling hurricanes at these extended ranges, or whether a given locality will be impacted by a hurricane this season."

Weather Channel video report on the hurricane season outlook is here:

Possible impacts of the hurricane season on oil and natural gas prices were discussed within the past hour on CNBC:

From Reuters:
US govt warns of worst hurricane season since 2005

From Palm Beach Post Eye on the Storm blog, including a video clip of the NOAA announcement:
Another prediction of a “really bad season”

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Seasonal Outlook

Latest seasonal forecast: Click here.

Latest 3-month temperature outlook from Climate Prediction Center/NWS/NOAA.