BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Monday, August 6, 2012 – Projections coming out of the highly respected Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project are for two less named storms than previously predicted, but the number and intensity of hurricanes remain the same.
Professor William Gray and his protégé, research scientist Dr Phil Klotzbach are now predicting that the remainder of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season “will have about” 10 named storms, five hurricanes and two major hurricanes, Category 3, 4 or 5.
This latest prediction, issued August 3, is slightly different to the forecast released June 1 that suggested there would be 12 named storms, five hurricanes and two major hurricanes this season.
Their forecast is for the season ending November 30 remains for activity to likely be slightly less than average.
An average hurricane season includes ten tropical storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes with maximum sustained winds exceeding 110 mph, categories 3-5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale.
The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will update its seasonal outlook on August 9.
Hurricane season forecasters traditionally update their predictions in August to coincide with what is typically the peak of the season, August through October. Experts say 78 percent of tropical storm days usually occur in the three-month period, as well as 87 percent of minor hurricane days and 96 percent of major hurricane days. Maximum activity is in early to mid-September.
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center said May 24 that there was a 70 percent chance that nine to 15 named storms would form in 2012, with four to eight hurricanes and one to three major hurricanes.
As of August 5, six named storms have formed and one hurricane. The US National Hurricane Centre (NHC) currently is watching two of the named storms – Ernesto and Florence. Previous forecasts had shown Ernesto strengthening into a hurricane by Monday.
NHC meteorologists said yesterday (Aug ust 5) that Ernesto would likely remain a tropical storm prior to landfall Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, perhaps north of Belize City. The intensity forecast predicts that the storm will become a hurricane by Friday morning off the coast of Mexico.
Florence was located over the eastern Atlantic Ocean several hundred miles west of the Cape Verde Islands yesterday afternoon. However, forecasters expect it to weaken and become a tropical depression by Thursday.