NOAA Predicts “Very Active” 2013 Hurricane Season
On May 23, 2013 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released outlook data on the 2013 hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean. The report warns of an “above-normal” season with greater frequency and intensity of hurricanes. NOAA forecasts a hurricane season with a 70% chance of between 13-20 named storms, in which 7-11 would become hurricanes (tropical storms with sustained winds of 74 mph or greater), and roughly 3-6 higher category hurricanes. The forecasts demonstrate that the United States could see up to double the average amount of hurricanes which had made landfall in previous hurricane seasons.
ACE Index and Landfall Predictions
Along with these predictions, meteorologists expect an Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) range of 120%-205%. This indicates that the intensity and duration of storms will be in the “above-normal” to “very active” categories. Predictions follow historical data signifying a continuation of a high-activity period which began in 1995.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration states that these forecasts are not indicators of the specific dates or locations of which the disasters will take place. However, expectations for active seasons do signify a greater possibility for hurricane strikes along the coasts of the United States and Caribbean Sea region.
Contributing Factors to an Active Hurricane Season
Analysts anticipate climactic conditions in the 2013 to create an ideal environment for hurricanes to brew in the Atlantic Ocean, particularly in the Caribbean. According to NOAA, the most influential factors which lead experts to believe there will be an elevation in hurricane activity in the upcoming season include:
- intense west african monsoons supplying energy to the hurricanes
- an increase in atlantic ocean tmperatures
- an absence of an el Niño combined with a reduction in wind shear
- low atmospheric pressure over the Atlantic Basin
Complications in Hurricane Predictions
Although meteorologists have made great strides in hurricane forecasting, making completely accurate predictions of hurricane tracks and intensity is nearly impossible. This evolves from the complex nature of collecting data across the open waters of oceans. Analysts currently implement satellites and buoys to track hurricane formation; however, since hurricane development depends on several factors and can rapidly change, scientists struggle to fully understand hurricane activity.
Much of the predictions made in the NOAA coincide with previous hurricane data and findings concerning the formation and activity of the storms. While these forecasts are not certain, statistics illustrate a generally high likelihood for future hurricane activity to occur within the predicted NOAA ranges.
To learn about hurricane development and facts, read more at national-hurricane-center.org.