|2011 hurricane activity predicted to be busy|
This year’s hurricane season is expected to busier than average, much like 2010, according to the April predictions from the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University.
The TCI was nearly missed by major Hurricane Earl on Sept. 1, followed a few days later by Tropical Storm Fiona, which missed at a safer distance.
Then Hurricane Tomas went right over East Caicos early Nov. 6 with 75 mph winds, luckily causing little damage.
The latest forecast estimates that there will be 16 named storms and nine hurricanes, five of them major. In 2010, there were 19 named storms, 12 hurricanes and five major hurricanes.
“Everyone should realize that it is impossible to precisely predict this season’s hurricane activity in early April,” said the report by Philip J. Klotzbach and William M. Gray.
“There is, however, much curiosity as to how global ocean and atmosphere features are presently arranged as regards to the probability of an active or inactive hurricane season for the coming year.”
For example, the April 2010 forecast was lower than what actually occurred, while revised forecasts in June and August 2010 were right on the money.
According to their models for 2011, there is a 61 percent chance of a major hurricane tracking into the Caribbean between 10-20 degrees north and 60-88 degrees west this year, while the average for the last century is 42 percent. The Turks and Caicos Islands are located at approximately 22 degrees north and 72 degrees west.
The 2011 forecast for the U.S. east coast including Florida is 48 percent, compared to a century average of 31 percent.
Why issue extended-range forecasts for seasonal hurricane activity?
“We issue these forecasts to satisfy the curiosity of the general public and to bring attention to the hurricane problem,” the authors say. “There is a general interest in knowing what the odds are for an active or inactive season.”
They point out that any statistical forecast can be wrong, and that they cannot predict where storms will hit. And even when predictions are high, “the probability of landfall for any one location along the coast is very low.”
The number and strength of storms in the 2010 season was the highest since the record-setting 2005 season, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.