Hurricane Outlook NOAA 2013
Hurricane season does not officially begin until June 1st but Dr. Gray of Colorado State University released his predictions back in early April. He predicted eighteen named storms, eleven is average, nine hurricanes, six is average, and four major hurricanes, two to three is average. A major hurricane is defined as a category three or higher with winds 111 mph or higher. Dr. Gray, in part, based his prediction on El Nino not returning this summer or fall. El Nino is the warming of the equatorial Pacific off the coast of the South America. When we have strong or moderate El Nino during the summer the jet stream is farther south than usual inhibiting the development of tropical systems.
Last Thursday NOAA's outlook was released. They too expect the La Nina to continue so NOAA is predicting an active season. Sea surface temperatures are colder than usual off the equatorial coast of South America during La Nina patterns. That keeps the jet stream farther north creating more favorable conditions for tropical development.
NOAA is predicting thirteen to twenty named storms, with seven to eleven reaching hurricane status, and three to six of those peaking at 'major' status. The two hurricane prognostications are very similar. NOAA's forecast is just a bit more robust in the total number of named storms but then the two forecasts are nearly identical. We'll see and again all that matters is landfall.