Storm forecasters say season may be busy after all
(CNS): Hurricane experts have revised their predictions slightly for the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane season after forecasters said warmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures and wind patterns now favour more storm formation. Although the season be busier than average the prediction is tempered with the expected development of an El Nino weather pattern over the Pacific which could still suppress storms. The predictions come on the heels of four tropical storms and two hurricanes all of which formed before the half way point of the season. Now in the peak time for storms experts say as many as 17 storms could form this year.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts that as many as eight hurricanes, could form at least two of which could become major hurricanes with wind speeds of 111 mph or higher. Last year was one of the busiest seasons on record with 19 named systems.
Forecasters had originally predicted an average season or ‘near normal season’ with nine to 15 tropical storms four to eight of which would likely become hurricanes. However, the weather experts at the centre now believe there is a 70% chance that the 2012 Atlantic season will turn out to be above average.
The high activity in the Atlantic has been happening since 1995 because of the ocean and atmospheric conditions, said Gerry Bell, the lead seasonal forecaster at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center.
“Early-season activity in the deep tropics off Africa's coast, which produced Ernesto and Tropical Storm Florence early this month, also generally indicates a more dynamic season, Bell said. "Conditions are more conducive right now, but we expect them to become less favourable if El Nino develops as expected. We have a high confidence that El Nino will develop this month or next, but also that its influence will be delayed until later in the season," Bell said.
The Atlantic hurricane season got off to an earlier-than-official start this year when Tropical Storm Alberto formed May 19 off the South Carolina coast.
On Monday 13 August in the afternoon there were two different weather systems that the NHC was giving a 20% chance of becoming storms. The remnants of tropical depression seven were moving over the central Caribbean Sea, producing disorganized showers and
thunderstorms which the forecasters said was conducive for regeneration over the next day or so.
Ot in the Atlantic there was limited shower activity in association with a trough of low pressure located about 1350 miles west-northwest of the Cape Verde Islands. No significant development of the disturbance was expected during the next day or so but experts said environmental conditions could become more conducive by Wednesday.
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