For Immediate Release
Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Contact for Reporters:
Jennifer Dimas
970.491.1543
Jennifer.Dimas@ColoState.EDU



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Hurricane Forecast Team at Colorado State University Calls for Above-Average 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season in Initial Forecast

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William Gray and Phil Klotzbach

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Note to Reporters: The entire forecast report will be available on the Web at http://hurricane.atmos.colostate.edu or with the news release at http://www.news.colostate.edu/ no later than 8:30 a.m. MST.

FORT COLLINS - An early extended-range forecast for 2010 calls for above-average Atlantic basin hurricane activity, according to the Tropical Meteorology Project at Colorado State University.

The report marks the 27th year for the CSU hurricane forecasting team, which is now led by Philip Klotzbach and William Gray.

The team anticipates a range of 11-16 named storms, 6-8 hurricanes and 3-5 major hurricanes (Saffir/Simpson category 3-4-5) with sustained winds of 111 mph or greater.

For the first time, the team is calling for a range in its December early season forecast since the report is based on Atlantic basin conditions that can change substantially by the start of the hurricane season on June 1.

The team will list specific numerical forecasts for the 2010 hurricane season which runs from June 1 through November 30 as of their next forecast, which will be issued on April 7.

“The Atlantic basin has the largest year-to-year variability of any of the global tropical cyclone basins. Our early December statistical forecast methodology shows evidence over 58 past years that significant improvement over climatology can be attained,” said Klotzbach, the lead author of the forecasts.

“We foresee a somewhat above-average Atlantic basin hurricane season,” Gray said. “We anticipate the current El Nino event to dissipate by the 2010 hurricane season and warm sea surface temperatures are likely to continue being present in the tropical and North Atlantic during 2010 – conditions that contribute to an above-average season.”

This forecast is based on an extended-range early December statistical prediction scheme that uses 58 years of hindcast data. This statistical model explains a considerable amount of hurricane variability in hindcasts issued from 1950-2007. Over this time period, the three-predictor scheme correctly forecast above- or below-average seasons in 44 out of 58 years.

For the 2010 Atlantic basin hurricane season, the CSU hurricane forecast team predicts:

• A 64 percent chance that at least one major hurricane will make landfall on the U.S. coastline in 2010. The long-term average probability is 52 percent.

• For the U.S. East Coast, including the Florida Peninsula, the probability of a major hurricane making landfall is 40 percent (the long-term average is 31 percent).

• For the Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle west to Brownsville, the probability is 40 percent (the long-term average is 30 percent).

• The team predicts the probability of a major hurricane making landfall in the Caribbean as 53 percent (average for the last century is 42 percent).

Along with today's report, the team has updated the Landfall Probability Web site that provides probabilities of tropical storm-force, hurricane-force and major hurricane-force winds making landfall at specific locations along the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts within a variety of time periods. U.S. landfall probabilities are available for 11 regions and 205 individual counties along the U.S. coastline from Brownsville, Texas, to Eastport, Maine. Probabilities are also available for Central America and the Caribbean. With the help of Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts, the website is available to the public at http://www.e-transit.org/hurricane.

The hurricane team's forecasts are based on the premise that global oceanic and atmospheric conditions - such as El Nino and tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures - that preceded active or inactive hurricane seasons in the past provide meaningful information about similar trends in future seasons.

The team will issue seasonal updates of its 2010 Atlantic basin hurricane activity forecast on April 7, June 2 and Aug. 4.


GRAY RESEARCH TEAM
2010 EXTENDED RANGE ATLANTIC BASIN HURRICANE FORECAST
Tropical Cyclone Parameters Extended Range
(1950-2000 Averages in parentheses) Forecast for 2010
Named Storms (9.6) 11-16
Named Storm Days (49.1) 51-75
Hurricanes (5.9) 6-8
Hurricane Days (24.5) 24-39
Intense Hurricanes (2.3) 3-5
Intense Hurricane Days (5.0) 6-12
Accumulated Cyclone Energy (96.7) 100-162
Net Tropical Cyclone
Activity (100%) 108-172
 

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