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Old 08-04-2009, 12:32   #1
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2009 Atlantic hurricane prediction

U.S. forecaster lowers Atlantic hurricane prediction


By Jim Loney

MIAMI (Reuters) - Citing cooler seas and the prospect of a weak El Nino, Colorado State University's hurricane team lowered its 2009 Atlantic forecast on Tuesday to 12 tropical storms, of which six could become hurricanes.

The research team, founded by storm forecasting pioneer William Gray, said the season could see two "major" hurricanes of Category 3 or higher on the five-step Saffir-Simpson intensity scale. Hurricanes of that magnitude have sustained winds of more than 110 miles per hour (177 km per hour).

In its December forecast, the CSU team predicted 14 storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes in the 2009 season, which begins on June 1 and lasts six months.

The researchers said sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean had cooled in recent months. Hurricanes draw energy from warm sea water, so cooler water could diminish hurricane activity.

In addition, the eastern Pacific Ocean could see the current weak La Nina conditions change to neutral, or even weak El Nino, by June, the researchers said. El Nino is a warm water phenomenon that can suppress Atlantic hurricane formation.

"If El Nino conditions develop for this year's hurricane season, it would tend to increase levels of vertical wind shear and decrease levels of Atlantic hurricane activity," Gray said.

Bill Read, director of the U.S. National Hurricane Center, downplayed the impact of El Nino, noting there have been active hurricane seasons during similar phases of the El Nino cycle. But he said cooler water could have an influence.

"Some of my forecasters have pointed out to me that the tropical Atlantic waters at this time of the year this year are somewhat cooler than the last several seasons," he said in an interview with Reuters at the National Hurricane Conference in Austin, Texas. "If that continues that may be a more important factor on this season."

While disaster management experts say long-range hurricane forecasting helps raise public awareness, many note it is an inexact science. Some forecasters, including the Colorado State team, have been well off target in recent years.

Colorado State predicted 15 tropical storms for the 2005 season, but a record 28 formed.

"You're talking trying to discern weather events from a climate-type forecast. Therein lies a huge difficulty right there," Read said. "That science is still in its infancy."

FORECASTS CLOSELY WATCHED

The forecasts are closely watched by energy, commodities and insurance markets, particularly since the devastating 2005 season, when a series of hurricanes rolled through Gulf of Mexico oil and gas fields and Hurricane Katrina, the costliest in U.S. history, swamped New Orleans.

Colorado State predicted a 31 percent chance that a major hurricane would hit the U.S. Gulf coast this year, compared to a 30 percent long-term average. For the U.S. East Coast, the probability was 32 percent, compared to 31 percent long-term.

The 2008 Atlantic season was one of the busiest on record, with 16 tropical storms, of which eight became hurricanes. Five were of Category 3 or higher.

Cuba bore the brunt of last season's destructive storms. Three major hurricanes hit the Caribbean island, causing an estimated $10 billion damage.

The long-term average for the Atlantic hurricane season is about 10 tropical storms and six hurricanes. But experts said a period of heightened Atlantic hurricane activity started around 1995 and was expected to last 25 to 40 years.

London-based Tropical Storm Risk on Monday forecast 15 tropical storms, 7.8 hurricanes and 3.6 major hurricanes.

(Additional reporting by Erwin Seba in Austin, Texas, editing by Chris Wilson)

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/reuters/0...m_hurricanes_3
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Old 08-04-2009, 13:30   #2
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While recognizing the huge potential for error, lets hope that these somewhat optimisitic forecasts turn out to be accurate.

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Old 08-04-2009, 14:47   #3
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But you only need one in the wrong spot!

Having said that, we are happy to have cruised this area in the cyclone season. We had a near miss that was pretty scary, but we have had all the anchorages to ourselves and are far advanced of the other cruisers who are still in port. We will be able to do the Great Barrier Reef within our time limit more comfortably.

So if you can be within a few hours downwind sail of an excellent hurricane hole and have great communications for weather info, then don't let the Hurricane season stop you.
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Old 08-04-2009, 15:46   #4
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Are you board Mark? I know you like posting regularly on many subjects but last time I looked at a world atlas the Atlantic ocean was some way from the Great Barrier reef Australia
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Old 08-04-2009, 16:23   #5
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Are you board Mark? I know you like posting regularly on many subjects but last time I looked at a world atlas the Atlantic ocean was some way from the Great Barrier reef Australia
LOL you know exaclty where we are! Queensland Australia just finished a cyclone season inside the cyclone area.

Last year we were in the Caribbean just before the beginning of the Hurricane season wondering where the hell we were going to go.

There are other cyclone/hurricane seasons in our travels in the next year or 2 as well including the double seasons in the Bay of Bengal. We will avaiod all those if we can.

So yes, I feel qualified to make a comment about the weather in areas where I have been and had to consider it

Also I like to make comments about things I haven't experienced in places I havent been because I am learning!

Being in a forum, for me, is to be able to contribute, to introduce ideas that others may find useful, or spur better thought, discussion or investigation.

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Old 08-04-2009, 18:15   #6
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I would not make any cruising decisions based on hurricane predictions made by experts. It doesn't matter if there is only one hurricane, if you are in it, you may be history.

When it's hurricane season, you either get out of Dodge, or you prepare for the worst. For me there is no middle ground. Predictions won't protect me from the single hurricane that runs over me like a Mac Truck.

Hurricane predictions are a trip to fantasy land.

Hurricanes are either zero or 100%.

If a hurricane misses you, it is zero. If it hits you, it is 100%. You have to take hurricanes personally and get out of hurricane zones when hurricanes are in season, or you have a plan as to exactly what you will do if a hurricane comes your way.
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Old 08-04-2009, 18:57   #7
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Mark the thread was about a Hurricane prediction for the Atlantic. My comment did not refer to your ability or knowledge to comment.
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Old 08-04-2009, 19:09   #8
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Damn Aussies! Surviving Cyclones and such in *gasp* a Beneteau! and they think they are experts in everything just because they have been there and done that! All sarcasm aside, you and Nicolle are and inspiration, as for better judgement........I will reserve judgement until I share a frosty mug with you

As a matter of fact, here is my tribute to you two.


Cause "I wanna be like you who-who" Have TWO Bananas!

Also my favorite musical skit of ALL time.
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Old 08-04-2009, 19:26   #9
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Quote:
While recognizing the huge potential for error, lets hope that these somewhat optimistic forecasts turn out to be accurate.
At this early date the speculation is at it's height. They may not be accurate but they are regular. The longer term folks are in a "it's a worse than average" period just like last year. I suppose it depends on if you get hit or not. I've always been a believer that it's better to avoid a confrontation. This would be one of those times.
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Old 08-04-2009, 21:15   #10
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Just hire Al Gore to predict Hurricanes and be done with it

He knows what our weather is going to be within a 1/10 of a degree 50 years from now. Predicting this season's hurricanes should be a breeze for him.
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Old 08-04-2009, 23:14   #11
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Al Gore look alikes are alive and well over here as well. Should read Al $$$$ Gore because that is what it is really about the world over.
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Old 09-04-2009, 00:40   #12
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Damn Aussies! I will reserve judgement until I share a frosty mug with you
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Thanks for the vid! Thats been ages since i saw that.

I better brew some more beer


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Old 09-04-2009, 06:13   #13
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Of course one hurricane is too many if you are in its path; that being said, the more hurricanes that there are in a given season, the greater the number of boats that are put at risk. While seasonal predictions are sketchy at best, the cooler water temperatures should tend to reduce both the number and the intensity of the storms (as I recall, hurricanes require water temperatures of 80 degrees farenheit or greater in order to develop/sustain their strength). Once again, here's to hoping that these prognosticators are correct and that it is a less severe season than several of late.

Brad
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Old 11-04-2009, 16:55   #14
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FWIW this winter in Puerto Rico has been several degrees cooler than normal, and the waters are chillier than in the past few years. I almost had to put on a sweater one night ... almost :-)

Not sure if this is just a local thing, but hopefully it means fewer and/or less intense hurricanes in the caribbean this season.
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Old 11-04-2009, 18:00   #15
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...hopefully it means fewer and/or less intense hurricanes in the caribbean this season.
And this I wish to all (myself included )
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