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#213172 - 05/22/06 06:57 PM Hurricane Center Predicts Calmer Season
SimonB Offline
Hurricane Center Predicts Calmer Season

By LAURA WIDES-MUNOZ, Associated Press Writer

A hectic, above-normal tropical storm season could produce between four and six major hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico this year, but conditions don't appear ripe for a repeat of 2005's record activity, the National Hurricane Center predicted Monday.

There will be up to 16 named storms, the center predicted, which would be significantly less than last year's record 28. Still, people in coastal regions should prepare for the possibility of major storms, said Max Mayfield, the National Hurricane Center director.

"One hurricane hitting where you live is enough to make it a bad season," Mayfield told reporters.

Last year, officials predicted 12 to 15 tropical storms, seven to nine of them becoming hurricanes, and three to five of those hurricanes being major, with winds of at least 111 mph.

But the season turned out to be much busier, breaking records that had stood since 1851. Last season there were 15 hurricanes, seven of which were Category 3 or higher.

In the center's detailed 2006 prediction report, meteorologists said water in the Atlantic is not as warm as it was at this stage in 2005. Warm water is a key fuel for hurricane development.

Also, it is not clear whether atmospheric conditions that helped produce the 2005 storms will repeat again this year, forecasters said. And, it appears that the Pacific Ocean water conditions known as El Nino and La Nina will not have any impact on the Atlantic hurricane season this year, forecasters said.

Last month, Colorado State University forecasters issued a similar forecast, predicting up to 17 named storms. The forecast of William Gray and Phillip Klotzbach called for nine hurricanes, five of them intense.

The Atlantic seasons were relatively mild from the 1970s through 1994. Since then, all but two years have been above normal. Experts say the world is in the midst of a 20-year-cycle that will continue to bring strong storms.

Between 1995 and 2005, the Atlantic season has averaged 15 named storms, just over eight named hurricanes and four major hurricanes, according to the National Hurricane Center. Before this latest above-normal cycle, from 1971 to 1994, there were an average of 8.5 named storms, five hurricanes and just over one major hurricane.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. The names chosen for 2006 storms are: Alberto, Beryl, Chris, Debby, Ernesto, Florence, Gordon, Helene, Isaac, Joyce, Kirk, Leslie, Michael, Nadine, Oscar, Patty, Rafael, Sandy, Tony, Valerie and William.

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On the Net:

National Hurricane Center: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov

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#213173 - 05/22/06 07:23 PM Re: Hurricane Center Predicts Calmer Season
Jackie22 Offline
Let's prayer that this is much calmer. If it comes towards Houston or the Texas gulf coast, I fear people will not evacuate after the last storm Rita... that was a mess!

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#213174 - 05/22/06 08:16 PM Re: Hurricane Center Predicts Calmer Season
snorkelgirl Offline
Just the same, I'm purchasing a house this week here in Louisiana which has NO large trees in the yard!!

It's too spooky hearing the limbs crashing down on the roof and wondering if anything (or the whole thing) might come thru.

An' no matter what, if they ever say evacuate, I will, every time!! eek

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#213175 - 05/22/06 09:27 PM Re: Hurricane Center Predicts Calmer Season
Marty Offline
i vote yes on calmer

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#213176 - 05/23/06 09:23 PM Re: Hurricane Center Predicts Calmer Season
Short Offline
My vote on calmer too, though I received this news today...


NOAA PREDICTS VERY ACTIVE 2006 NORTH ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON
Residents in Hurricane Prone Areas Urged to Make Preparations

May 22, 2006 — NOAA today announced to America and its neighbors throughout the north Atlantic region that a very active hurricane season is looming, and encouraged individuals to make preparations to better protect their lives and livelihoods. May 21-27 is National Hurricane Preparedness Week. (Click NOAA illustration for larger view of Hurricane Katrina aftermath in Biloxi, Miss. Click here for high resolution version. Please credit “NOAA.”)

During a news conference at the NOAA National Hurricane Center, Deputy Secretary of Commerce David A. Sampson noted, "Preparation is the key message that President Bush wants to convey during National Hurricane Preparedness Week. The impact from these storms extends well beyond coastal areas so it is vital that residents in hurricane prone areas get ready in advance of the hurricane season."

"For the 2006 north Atlantic hurricane season, NOAA is predicting 13 to 16 named storms, with eight to 10 becoming hurricanes, of which four to six could become 'major' hurricanes of Category 3 strength or higher," added retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. (Click NOAA image for larger view of conditions that will make 2006 an above-normal hurricane season. Please credit “NOAA.”)

On average, the north Atlantic hurricane season produces 11 named storms, with six becoming hurricanes, including two major hurricanes. In 2005, the Atlantic hurricane season contained a record 28 storms, including 15 hurricanes. Seven of these hurricanes were considered "major," of which a record four hit the United States. "Although NOAA is not forecasting a repeat of last year's season, the potential for hurricanes striking the U.S. is high," added Lautenbacher.

Warmer ocean water combined with lower wind shear, weaker easterly trade winds, and a more favorable wind pattern in the mid-levels of the atmosphere are the factors that collectively will favor the development of storms in greater numbers and to greater intensity. Warm water is the energy source for storms while favorable wind patterns limit the wind shear that can tear apart a storm's building cloud structure.

This confluence of conditions in the ocean and atmosphere is strongly related to a climate pattern known as the multi-decadal signal, which has been in place since 1995. Since then, nine of the last 11 hurricane seasons have been above normal, with only two below-normal seasons during the El Niño years of 1997 and 2002.

With neutral El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions expected across the equatorial Pacific during the next three to six months, the NOAA Climate Prediction Center scientists say that neither El Niño nor La Niña likely will be a factor in this year's hurricane season.

"Whether we face an active hurricane season, like this year, or a below-normal season, the crucial message for every person is the same: prepare, prepare, prepare," said Max Mayfield, director of the NOAA National Hurricane Center. "One hurricane hitting where you live is enough to make it a bad season."

The north Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30. NOAA will issue a mid-season update in early August just prior to the normal August through October peak in activity.

The north Atlantic hurricane seasonal outlook is a product of NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, National Hurricane Center and Hurricane Research Division. The NOAA National Hurricane Center has hurricane forecasting responsibilities for the north Atlantic as well as the east Pacific regions.

NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation's coastal and marine resources.

Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, 61 countries and the European Commission to develop a global network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.
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Live and let live

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