Hurricane forecasters call for slightly below-average year
With the start of the 2012 hurricane season two months away, the forecasting team at Colorado State University has predicted a slightly below-average season.
10 systems to become at least tropical storms
10 to earn names
4 of those becoming hurricanes
2 becoming major hurricanes, at Category 3 or higher on the Saffir/Simpson scale, with top sustained winds of at least 111 mph.
The team also gave a 24 percent chance that a major hurricane will make landfall on the U.S. East Coast.
Residents are urged to prepare every year as if at least one hurricane will hit them, which of course could happen in either a busy year or a quiet one.
As always, a major factor is El Niño, the warm water phenomenon that tends to hinder hurricane activity
“We have witnessed cooling of the tropical Atlantic during this past winter, and there is a fairly high likelihood that an El Niño event will develop this summer” .
But the team warned it still believes the hurricane season remains in a multi-decade stretch of above average storm activity that could go on for the next 10 to 15 years.
The season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.