Fort Collins, Colo.-The U.S. Atlantic basin likely will experience another active hurricane season, but coastal regions may face fewer landfalling major hurricanes than last year, according to the Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colo., forecast team. The team maintained its earlier predictions for the 2006 hurricane season, which starts on June 1.Colorado State's forecast for the 2006 hurricane season anticipates 17 named storms forming in the Atlantic basin between June 1 and November 30. Nine of the 17 storms are predicted to become hurricanes, and of those nine, five are expected to develop into intense or major hurricanes (Category 3-4-5) with sustained winds of 111 mph or greater.

The 2005 season witnessed 27 named storms, 15 hurricanes and seven intense hurricanes. Long-term averages are 9.6 named storms, 5.9 hurricanes and 2.3 intense hurricanes per year.

The hurricane forecast team predicts tropical cyclone activity in 2006 will be 195% of the average season. By comparison, 2005 witnessed tropical cyclone activity that was about 275 percent of the average season.

"If the atmosphere and the ocean behave as they have in the past, we should have a very active season, but that doesn't necessarily translate into storms that produce as much destruction as last year," said Colorado State Professor William Gray.

The current active period of Atlantic major hurricane activity is expected to continue for another 15 to 20 years. Still, Gray said, it is statistically unlikely that the coming 2006-2007 hurricane seasons, or those that follow, will have the number of major hurricane U.S. landfall events as occurred in 2004-2005.

The hurricane forecast team's probabilities for a major hurricane making landfall on U.S. soil are as follows:

  • An 82% chance that at least one major hurricane will make landfall on the U.S. coastline in 2006 (the long-term average probability is 52%).
  • A 69% chance that a major hurricane will make landfall on the U.S. East Coast, including the Florida Peninsula (the long-term average is 31%).
  • A 38% chance that a major hurricane will make landfall on the Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle west to Brownsville (the long-term average is 30%).

The entire report is available at http://hurricane.atmos.colostate.edu.

Source: Colorado State University

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