|Hurricane Forecast 'below normal', but 'be prepared.'|
key indicator' .
There's good news for sailors and landlubbers alike for this year's
Atlantic hurricane season. The season officially began on June 01,
and will last until November 30, and in spite of the good news,
authorities are being careful not to lull sailors and
hurricane-prone communities into a false sense of security.
NASA uses its orbiting satellites to study and research tropical cyclones,
and it will provide the data that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA) National Hurricane Center uses in advanced
models and hurricane predictions.
So far, the news is good. The satellites, which measure such things
as storm and surface winds, sea-surface heights and temperatures,
rainfall intensity, lightning, water vapor, humidity, cloud development,
and atmospheric pressure, indicate that sea-surface temperatures
in the tropical Atlantic are below normal. Such lower-than-normal
temperatures could 'starve' developing hurricanes of their driving force
--waters warmer than 80 degrees F--meaning fewer hurricanes.
Despite the good news, peak hurricane season is not until late summer
and early fall, and NASA's William Patzert says that oceanic and
atmospheric conditions can change dramatically. 'You can be clobbered
no matter what the expert outlook is today,' he says. “People need
to remain prepared.”
NOAA agrees. No doubt not wanting to dissuade people from taking
the possibility of hurricanes seriously, their forecasters are predicting
a 'near-normal' Atlantic hurricane season' is the most likely outcome
“Today, more than 35 million Americans live in regions most threatened
by Atlantic hurricanes,” Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said.
“Timely and accurate warnings of severe weather help save lives and
property. Public awareness and public preparedness are the best
defenses against a hurricane.”
In its initial outlook for the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season, which runs
from June through November, NOAA’s National Weather Service
Climate Prediction Center calls for a 50 percent probability of a
near-normal season, a 25 percent probability of an above-normal
season and a 25 percent probability of a below-normal season.
Global weather patterns are imposing a greater uncertainty in the
2009 hurricane season outlook than in recent years. Forecasters
say there is a 70 percent chance of having nine to 14 named storms,
of which four to seven could become hurricanes, including one to
three major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5).
“This outlook is a guide to the overall expected seasonal activity.
However, the outlook is not just about the numbers, it’s also about
taking action,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane
forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “Prepare for each
and every season regardless of the seasonal outlook. Even a near-
or below-normal season can produce landfalling hurricanes, and
it only takes one landfalling storm to make it a bad season.”
by Nancy Knudsen Share 9:43 PM Thu 11 Jun 2009 GMT