April 7, 2011

2011 To See Busy Hurricane Season

U.S. weather forecasters predicted on Wednesday that last year's record hurricane season will be followed by another unusually busy one, with 16 named storms predicted this year.

Colorado State University forecasters predict that nine of the named storms that will form in the Atlantic will develop into hurricanes.

"We expect that anomalously warm tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures combined with neutral tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures will contribute to an active season," Phil Klotzbach of CSU's Tropical Meteorology Project said in a statement.

The forecasters said the unusually busy hurricane activity predicted for this year is caused by the arrival of La Nina, which is the atmospheric force that promotes hurricane formation.

La Nina is associated with cooler than normal waters in the equatorial Pacific Ocean.

The CSU team predicted a "72 percent chance that at least one major hurricane will make landfall on the U.S. coastline in 2011," adding that the long-term average probability of this was 52 percent.

"Basically the reason that the probability goes up is just because we're speaking about a well-above-average hurricane season," Klotzbach said in a statement.

"In general, more active seasons tend to have more landfalls," he said.

The 2010 Atlantic storm season was the third busiest on record, with 19 named tropical storms over the Americas and the Caribbean during the June 1 through November 30 season, 12 of which became hurricanes.

Last year's hurricanes contributed to epic flooding and mudslides throughout Central and South America.


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