Thursday, March 26, 2009

Fewer hurricanes expected this year

Disaster News Network: The 2009 hurricane season doesn’t get underway for another two months, but the early prognosticators are already putting out the word on how they believe the storms will play out. Accu-Weather’s chief long range and hurricane forecaster Joe Bastardi said he believes there will be fewer named storms this year than in 2008, though eight of those storms will become hurricanes – the same number as last year.

Of those eight, only two will become major storms, three fewer than last year. Half of the storms that form this year will make landfall in the United States and only one will be a major storm.

Bastardi said the weak La Niña in the Pacific will dissipate. That, coupled with high pressure in the eastern Atlantic will produce stronger than average easterly trade winds across North Africa, which will favor the formation of storms off the coast of that continent in the middle and later parts of the season.

This year in part of a regular multi-year pattern, apart from global climate change, water temperatures in the Atlantic are expected to be higher than average which will raise the chance of a major storm hitting the east coast, probably north of the Carolinas.

That’s potentially good news for the Caribbean which was hammered by storms last season and Florida and the Gulf region which has suffered many storms in the last few years….

2008's Hurricane Ike in Key West, Florida, Photo by Tech. Sgt. Thomas Kielbasa via flickr

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