2011 Atlantic hurricane predictions and forecasts

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The latest 2011 hurricane prediction and forecast for Atlantic tropical storm and hurricane activity has been published by the NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center – a division of the U.S. National Weather Service. We thought it would be interesting to compare this most recent forecast of Atlantic hurricane activity with those we’ve covered previously.

The main story from the NOAA forecast is that the predictions of another active Atlantic storm season, with above average tropical storm and hurricane formation, are continuing. In fact the NOAA hurricane outlook is right up there with the most active predictions for another major storm season.

The NOAA predicts between 12 and 18 named tropical storms (where sustained winds reach 39mph or higher). Between 6 and 10 of those could attain hurricane status (where sustained winds reach 74mph or higher). Between 3 and 6 of those hurricanes are predicted to reach major status of Category 3, 4 or 5 (where sustained winds reach 111mph or higher). The NOAA gives each of these ranges a 70% likelihood and are well above the seasonal average of 11 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes.

The NOAA don’t give any indication of whether landfall risks are any higher or lower than last year. However, other forecasters have suggested that the global weather patterns this year are more in line with years where at least one major hurricane makes landfall on the U.S. coastline.

Here’s a comparison of the latest 2011 hurricane forecasts from some of the other respected forecasters (most recent forecast at the top):

ForecasterNamed stormsHurricanesMajor hurricanes
NOAA12 – 186 – 103 – 6
Colorado State University1695
Tropical Storm Risk14.27 – 83.6
Accuweather1583

Unless these forecasters are all completely inaccurate we are definitely in for an extremely active hurricane season once again. Of course that doesn’t mean that insured losses will necessarily follow, as that will depend on the direction storm tracks follow this year and whether they approach land.

We should receive updates from some of the other forecasters towards the end of May and the hurricanes season officially begins on the 1st June. We will update you throughout the season on storm impact, likelihood of landfall and any impact to reinsurers and of course catastrophe bonds. Watch out for our 2011 Atlantic storm season page which will be launching soon.

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