Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Prediction: Six hurricanes, an average season in 2009

National Geographic News: Only six Atlantic hurricanes are likely to form this summer, making the 2009 hurricane season a little less active than recent years, forecasters at Colorado State University said today. Twelve named tropical storms will form in the Atlantic Basin—which includes the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea—during hurricane season (June 1 and November 30), meteorologists Phil Klotzbach and William Gray predicted.

That's down from the average of 17 named storms seen in each of the past five summers.(See hurricane photos.) Of those dozen storms, six will develop into hurricanes, which have sustained winds of at least 74 miles (119 kilometers) an hour. Klotzbach and Gray suspect two of the storms will become major hurricanes, which have winds faster than 110 miles (170 kilometers) an hour.

The meteorologists base their forecast on cooler water temperatures in the Atlantic. They also think hurricanes could be suppressed by an El Niño event over the Pacific Ocean. Previous El Niños have caused upper-level winds, or wind shear, which inhibit hurricane formation, to form over the Atlantic….

Hurricane Rita, September 2005

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