- What Happened to 2013 Hurricane Season?
The Weather Channel has released the July update to the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season outlook.
2012 Forecast: Near-Average Season
The updated forecast calls for a total of 13 named storms, 6 of which are expected to become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale). These forecast numbers are generally near to slightly below the long-term average from 1950-2011 (12 named storms, 7 hurricanes, 3 major hurricanes) and below the averages for the current active era from 1995-2011 (15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, 4 major hurricanes).
Already this season we've seen 4 named storms, the first of which, Alberto, formed on May 19, a little less than two weeks before the official start of the season on June 1.
(MORE: Tropics 2012's Strange Start)
Forecast number of tropical storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes compared to average.
The July update cites one potential limiting influence on the number of named storms in 2012.
"Although we got off to a fast start in 2012, we feel that the heart of the season will be much less active than the last two, as an El Nino event continues to mature slowly and provide an unfavorable environment for tropical development," said Dr. Todd Crawford, Chief Meteorologist for Weather Services International (WSI), a part of The Weather Channel Companies.
Stronger wind shear, a nemesis to tropical cyclone development, tends to appear in parts of the Atlantic Basin in a season in which El Nino has developed.
"The slow emergence of El Nino impacts as summer transitions into fall typically means that the bulk of the activity occurs during August-September, with a fairly quiet back half of the season," said Crawford.
History Shows Be Prepared Every Season!
Key hurricane season prediction statements
"Through scientists at WSI, The Weather Channel has been producing hurricane seasonal forecasts for the Atlantic Ocean since 2006," says Dr. Peter Neilly, Vice President, Global Forecasting Services.
"The forecasts are based on state-of-the-science techniques and inputs such as patterns of ocean temperatures in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The Weather Channel forecasts have proven quite accurate and generally predict the number of storms within two each year."
"However, it is important to note that our forecasts are for the total number of storms that may occur anywhere within the Atlantic Ocean, and do not attempt to predict the number of storms that will make landfall in the U.S.," says Neilly.
(WeatherREADY: Hurricane safety tips)
As Senior Meteorologist Stu Ostro (find him on Facebook | Twitter) points out, "Some businesses such as those who are clients of Weather Services International (WSI) find value in hurricane season forecasts. The total number of storms is of interest to me because it matters for how busy I am during the season; for example, there wasn’t a U.S. hurricane landfall in either 2009 or 2010, but the former had 9 storms and the latter 19."
"Nevertheless, as I am on record many times as saying, and as is The Weather Channel’s philosophy, these forecasts absolutely cannot accurately predict critical details such as where or how many landfalls will occur and people in hurricane-prone areas should be equally prepared every year regardless of seasonal outlooks."
Ostro adds, “In 1983 there were only four named storms, but one of them was Alicia, a Category 3 which hit the Houston-Galveston area and caused almost as many direct fatalities there as Andrew did in South Florida."
1992 season included four hurricanes and one U.S. landfall (Category 5 Andrew)
"While the saying might appear trite, Andrew and Alicia exemplify that truly all it takes is one."
On the opposite side of the spectrum from those two relatively inactive hurricane seasons that each had a single devastating landfall was the 2010 season.
That year we saw a total of 12 hurricanes in the Atlantic Basin. In all, there were 19 named storms, which tied 1995 for the third most on record during a season.
(MORE: 2010 season recap)
2010 hurricane season inlcuded 12 hurricanes and no U.S. landfalls
Despite the large number of storms that year, not a single hurricane and only one tropical storm made landfall in the United States.
That said, some U.S. impacts did occur, including four cyclones bringing tropical storm conditions to some part of the country. However, most of the damage and, in many cases, casualties occurred in other countries.