Slightly More Storms than Average with Increased Chances for Landfalls in North America
(State College, PA - April 25, 2008) - AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center meteorologists, led by Chief Long-Range and Hurricane Forecaster Joe Bastardi, have released an early hurricane season forecast for 2008. They believe the waning La Niña conditions and a continued warm water cycle in the Atlantic Basin will be the two defining factors influencing the 2008 hurricane season, causing the number of storms to be slightly above average but, more importantly, increasing the chance for U.S. landfalling storms.
"The warming is not uniform across the entire Atlantic. In some areas where hurricanes normally form - the central and eastern tropical Atlantic - ocean water temperatures are near or below normal. This should limit the number of storms, so we do not expect a near record high number like in the 2005 season. However, considering other factors, the number of storms should be slightly higher than historical averages," said Bastardi. "The warmest waters relative to normal will be in the northern areas of the Atlantic, especially toward the North American continent. This could potentially increase the threat of major landfalls to the U.S. coast. In determining areas of elevated potential for landfall, we try to understand where the spread of storm tracks will center - but even within this spread, storms can "bunch," creating discrete areas of increased risk," Bastardi said. "Last season, the spread of the storms shifted southwest with one such bunch in the northern Caribbean. This year, early indications show that the spread will move north and east with a target closer to the Southeast U.S."
Bastardi and the AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center are looking at 1955, 1996, and 1999 as a few of the years showing similar weather characteristics to our current large-scale patterns. In 1955, Hurricanes Connie and Diane hit the Outer Banks and Carolina Beach in North Carolina. In 1996, Hurricanes Bertha and Fran made landfall in the Wilmington/Cape Fear area of North Carolina. During the 1999 hurricane season, Floyd and Dennis made landfall in September on the North Carolina coast. Bastardi will provide more details and insight at the AccuWeather.com Hurricane Summit on May 12, 2008 in Houston, TX. Attendees at the summit will include leaders in industries heavily impacted by tropical weather, Bastardi's AccuWeather.com EnergyPro® clients, and leading members of the press. To register for the summit, go to https://wwwl.accuweather.com/hurr_summit.htm.
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