At the end of last week, the official 2007 Hurricane Season forecasts started coming out in full force. In my opinion, there is one forecast I pay particular attention to. That forecast is the one that comes from Joe Bastardi at Accuweather. He's a Senior forecaster with Accuweather and you've probably seen or heard him on major tv and radio news outlets, especially when hurricanes threaten. So how does his forecast look for 2007? The headline composite should give you a clue:
Florida in the Bull’s Eye this Hurricane SeasonAs you well know, though, the devil is in the details. The first two paragraphs sum things up pretty well:
"We’re in for a Rough Year," Says AccuWeather.com’s Bastardi
(State College, PA - May 8, 2007) - AccuWeather.com Chief Hurricane Forecaster Joe Bastardi and his team expect this season’s hurricanes and tropical storms to pose a far greater threat to lives and property than last year’s, with significantly more storms striking the US.If the forecast verifies, then we'll have a significantly different Hurricane Season this year than we had last year. Now, why is this season going to be different. Mr. Bastardi touches on that:
In the AccuWeather.com 2007 Hurricane Season Forecast released today, Bastardi warns that six or seven storms will strike the US coast. This includes the possibility of multiple strikes by the same storm, such as the way Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina – both extreme examples – struck Florida before later striking the US Gulf Coast. The majority of these landfalls are projected for the Gulf Coast from the mouth of the Mississippi River to Cape Hatteras, NC, with the center of the bull’s eye on Florida.
Bastardi described the climatological patterns that he and his team expect to have an impact on this year’s hurricane season, including:If you've read my blog long enough, you know what's coming here. Note Joe's reference to historical observed cycles. Over the years, I've read a lot of Joe's writings. He appears to be a big believer in the cyclicality of weather and climate patterns. Looking at the available data, I would agree. Our climate appears to be cyclical in nature, so what has happened in the past will very likely happen again. But...back to the topic at hand.
Many of the climatological patterns currently occurring or projected for this hurricane season are similar to those of the 1930s through the 1950s, which was a period marked by frenzied hurricane activity.
- The occurrence of a weak La Niña – a formation of cooler–than–normal Pacific waters – in the wake of an El Niño at the end of last year
- The current warm–water cycle that is occurring in the area of the Atlantic that is a breeding ground for hurricanes, as well as forecast precipitation and air pressure patterns expected during hurricane season
- How spring is evolving across the North American continent
- How summer is projected to evolve across the US
- Forecasted air pressure oscillations over the Pacific, and diminished dry air over the tropical Atlantic
Ken Reeves, Director of Forecast Operations added a very important qualifying points regarding the forecasting of something as complex as hurricane activity:
"It is true that one of the patterns we are accounting for is the formation of a La Niña following the recent El Niño, but too often, the impact of a La Niña – or an El Niño – on a hurricane season is oversimplified. It is just one of many patterns that needs to be examined when predicting a hurricane season, and often not the most important one."Since I live in the Carolinas, I will take Ken Reeves final quote to heart, as we all should when it comes to severe weather events:
...The heightened threat we foresee for Florida and the eastern Gulf Coast could have significant implications for the areas still recovering from the devastation wrought by the hurricanes of 2004 and 2005."
...Those living farther up the East Coast should by no means let down their guard. While the threat there is lower than last year, ‘less risk’ does not mean ‘no risk.’ We expect at least one storm will threaten these areas."
Overall, we will see more powerful storms across the board than we did last year. We will not get anywhere near the amount of storms that we did in 2005, but it is the intensity of the storms we do get that will be of major concern. It goes without saying that if I were living along the Gulf Coast, Florida, or the Carolinas, I would do all I could to make sure that my family and I were prepared for the possibility of a landfalling tropical storm or hurricane. This is always prudent, but it is especially so during times such as this season, when we are likely to see above-normal storm activity.
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Technorati: Hurricane Season 2007, hurricanes, Joe Bastardi