Weather forecaster AccuWeather Inc. has joined other forecasters of tropical cyclone and hurricane activity in predicting a 2013 Atlantic hurricane season with above average levels of activity. Every forecaster that we have covered so far this year has called for levels of tropical storm and hurricane activity above the long-term average and now that we move closer to the season we can begin to expect updates on some forecasts.
The forecast for 2013 Atlantic hurricane activity published by AccuWeather today is its first attempt at predicting the level of hurricane activity that we will see over the coming months.
AccuWeather calls for 16 named tropical storms this year, with 8 of those storms reaching hurricane strength and 4 of those reaching major hurricane status of Category 3 or higher with sustained winds of at least 111mph.
The long-term average according to the NOAA is for 12 named tropical storms, with around 6 becoming hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes.
Warm water across the Atlantic and Caribbean, paired with less frequent wind shear, may result in an above-normal number of storms. The normal number of named tropical storms in a given year is 12, according to NOAA.
Additionally, 2013 could set the stage for stronger storms than were seen in 2012.
Episodes of Saharan dust, a factor that can stifle a storm’s development, may be less frequent this season. The reduced amount of dust may allow storms with a strength of category 2 or higher to develop.
Dan Kottlowski, the chief hurricane forecaster at AccuWeather told Bloomberg; “It will be an above-normal season with perhaps stronger storms than last year. That doesn’t mean the stronger storms will hit the U.S., but we do think there will be a lot more potential for stronger storms this year.”
AccuWeather don’t expect that we will see very early season storms like last year when two formed before June 1st. Dan Kottlowski said. “We think that this year will be more in line with a typical active season.”
AccuWeather also called for at least three storms to make landfall on the U.S. this year but made no prediction as to how intense they would be. The NOAA average is for 2 storms to make landfall on the U.S.
On landfalls AccuWeather said;
The biggest concerns for the upcoming season include development in the Gulf of Mexico, an impact in Florida and also another East Coast impact.
Florida is long overdue for a direct hurricane hit, Kottlowski said. Though they have been impacted by named tropical storms in the last couple of years, a direct hit by a hurricane has not occurred since Hurricane Wilma in 2005.
Concern is high for the East because of the remaining devastation as a result of the October 2012 landfall of Superstorm Sandy.
It’s too early to forecast exactly where hurricane impacts may be in 2103 though. “Those are very, very difficult to compute early in the season,” Kottlowski said. “As we get into the season and see how things are setting up, then it becomes a little bit more noticeable.”
Every forecaster has given a prediction for an above-average season so far this year, making 2013 a hurricane season that will be causing some nervousness among re/insurers. Initial forecasts had said that the potential for El Niño conditions to develop later this summer and autumn may have tempered hurricane activity, but now most forecasters suggest that it is becoming less likely that conditions will change that dramatically over the coming months.
We expect to see some updates from certain forecasters around the start of the 2013 hurricane season on the 1st June. The last organisation to publish its forecast for the season will be the U.S. NOAA and that forecast is expected around the last week of May.
We will keep you updated as these final forecast updates for the hurricane season are published and once the season begins you will be able to keep track of it using our dedicated 2013 Atlantic hurricane season page.