Saturday, December 20, 2014

Hurricane outlook juiced up

Despite El Nino, federal forecasters see brisk business in Atlantic.

Hurricane outlook juiced up

An El Nino, the prolonged cooling of surface waters in the tropical Pacific, is imminent, and usually that would tame Atlantic the tropical storm season.

But not this year, according to forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

So far, the season has produced six named storms, those with winds of 39 m.p.h. or better, despite a dead quiet July, and two hurricanes, with winds of at least 74 m.p.h.

In an update released this morning, they are calling for from seven to 12 more named storms, with 3 to 6 more hurricanes.

If the higher range of those predictions pans out, that would result in an above-normal season.

The update adds two to three more named-storm, compared with the May outlook.

The normal for tropical storms during the season, which begins June 1, is 12; hurricanes, 6.

Normally, El Nino generates strong upper-air winds from the west that can snuff out hurricanes in the Atlantic Basin.

But this season, warm Atlantic sea-surface temperatures are favorable for hurricanes, the forecasters said.

 

Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
About this blog

Everyone talks about the weather, and here we write about it.

When we’re around and conditions warrant, we’ll keep you updated about what’s coming, but we will do our best always to discuss weather and climate developments in context and remind you that nothing in the atmosphere happens in a vacuum.

Tony Wood has been writing about the atmosphere for The Inquirer for 26 years.

Reach Tony at twood@phillynews.com.

Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
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