2012 Atlantic Hurricane Predictions: Tranquil Or Tumultuous?

redOrbit Meteorologist Joshua Kelly – Your Universe Online

The 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season is now in full swing. However, it has been fairly light after a vigorous start in May and then a very tranquil time since then. The biggest reason for the quiet period we are seeing now has to do with both the placement of the Bermuda High and also the upper level winds across the Atlantic, which are still a tad unfavorable for development in the region. The best and most favorable spots right now are portions of the Gulf of Mexico.

When it comes to making forecasts for hurricanes it can be a very hard task at hand. Here are a few things that make it hard to forecast for the hurricane season.

First, is the year going to be hampered by EL-Nino, or will it be a neutral phase or even a La-Nina phase – as each of these has huge impacts on the storm amounts. For instance an EL-Nino phase starting in late summer or early fall can cut right through the heart of the hurricane season and bring it to a massive halt and reduce the numbers of storms. While La-Nina episodes can bring a large number of storms to the Atlantic basin. The neutral phase can have an impact on the amount of storms making it near normal or slightly above normal and even sometimes slightly below normal for storm numbers. So, as you can see, it is a challenge forecasting storm development.

The second major impact has to do with sea surface conditions and how warm the Atlantic waters will get to support tropical development. This is usually one of the easier mechanisms behind the forecast as very often the water temps will get plenty warm across the region to support tropical development.

A third thing that needs to be looked at is where is the Bermuda high and how far south is it situated in the Atlantic Ocean as this acts as a huge impact not only for steering of the tropical systems but also impacting if storms will be able to develop in their origin off the African Coastline during the later summer months.

A fourth thing that needs to be identified is what type of upper level environment is going to be in place over the region. When the upper level winds are strong there tends to be less development because of wind shear aloft which does not allow the hurricane to get developed.

Here are the forecasted numbers for the 2012 Season:

The Weather Channel/WSI:  (Updated July 2012)
13 Storms | 6 Hurricanes | 3 Major Hurricanes

NOAA (National Hurricane Center) (Released May 2012)
9-15 Storms | 4-8 Hurricanes |  1-3 Major Hurricanes

Colorado State (May 2012)
13 Storms | 5 Hurricanes | 2 Major Hurricanes

RedOrbit Meteorologist Joshua Kelly (May 2012)
9 Storms | 3 Hurricanes | 1 Major Hurricane

* All numbers listed above are from their respective agencies.

* Be advised it only takes one storm to make a very large impact on the region it hits, so the best thing to do is always plan ahead and have that hurricane safety kit ready and the evacuation route planned before the storm gets to you.

* Sources The Weather Channel Hurricane 2012 Update listed all the numbers above except for RedOrbit.com´s numbers which were provided by Meteorologist Joshua Kelly

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