By Earth Networks – WeatherBug Senior Meteorologist, James West
The 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season — officially beginning on June 1 but already started with Alberto’s formation last weekend — will be an active but closer-to-normal one this year. This year follows an above-average 2011 season.
WeatherBug meteorologists are expecting 11 to 13 named storms to form in the Atlantic Hurricane basin this year. Six to seven of these storms will become hurricanes, and two to four major hurricanes with winds in excess of 111 mph are possible. The long-term annual average since 1981 is 12 storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.
Driving this year’s forecast are near-normal water temperatures throughout the tropical Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, and no El Niño or La Niña patterns.
“A weak El Niño might develop by this autumn, which could be a slightly negative factor for the latter part of the hurricane season,” says James Aman, WeatherBug Senior Meteorologist at Earth Networks. “This will tend to be balanced by the favorable phase of the long-term Atlantic multi-decade cycle.”
In comparison, the Colorado State University tropical forecast team on April 4 predicted a below-normal season with 10 tropical storms, four hurricanes and two major hurricanes this year. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration hurricane forecast will be issued on May 24.
The Atlantic Hurricane Basin consists of the Atlantic, Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico. The hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30 every year. The historical height of the Atlantic hurricane season runs from mid-August to early October. However, tropical systems can form at any time during the season.