|Rina was one of the last storms of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season [NOAA]
The forecast for the 2012 hurricane season is out and the experts predict that it will be a below average year for storms.
The Colorado State University forecast team, led by the renowned Dr. William Gray, has been studying the tropics since the 1980’s and has been issuing yearly forecasts on storm probabilities.
In a 42 page report issued on 4 April, Dr. Gray and his team looked at dozens of factors that go into the yearly forecast calculations. Their prognosis is that 2012’s hurricane season should have fewer storms than average.
The biggest factor for this determination is that the tropical Atlantic has cooled over the past several months. Tropical systems feed and develop on warm water from the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. If those water temperatures are expected to be cooler, then the energy for these storms is less.
Even with lower numbers expected this year, Dr. Gray points out that, “coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them, and they need to prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted”.
In an average year there would be 12 named storms, 6.5 hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes. For 2012 those numbers drop to a forecasted 10 named storms, 4 hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes.
Dr. Gray and his team are not the only research office that put out these forecasts. In the next few weeks other agencies such as Pennsylvania State University, the National Hurricane Center and Weather Systems International will also join in with their forecasts.
While hurricanes are to blame for millions of dollars in damage and countless deaths, they are also responsible for bringing much needed seasonal rain to areas. For example northern Mexico and Texas are regions that rely on that tropical moisture. Without it, they face droughts, which both are currently experiencing.
The 2012 Atlantic hurricane season officially kicks off at the start of June and carries on through the end of November.