CSU: expect a quiet 2012 Atlantic hurricane season; EF-3 tornado confirmed in Texas

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:47 PM GMT on April 05, 2012

Share this Blog
38
+

Expect one of the quietest Atlantic hurricane seasons since 1995 this year, say the hurricane forecasting team of Dr. Phil Klotzbach and Dr. Bill Gray of Colorado State University (CSU) in their latest seasonal forecast issued April 4. They call for an Atlantic hurricane season with below-average activity: 10 named storms, 4 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes. An average season has 10 - 11 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes. The 2012 forecast calls for a below-average chance of a major hurricane hitting the U.S., both along the East Coast (24% chance, 31% chance is average) and the Gulf Coast (24% chance, 30% chance is average). The Caribbean is forecast to have a 34% chance of seeing at least one major hurricane (42% is average.) Four years with similar pre-season March atmospheric and oceanic conditions were selected as "analogue" years that the 2012 hurricane season may resemble: 2009, 2001, 1965, and 1957. These years all had neutral to El Niño conditions during hurricane season. The average activity for these years was 9.5 named storms, 4.8 hurricanes, and 2.3 major hurricanes.


Figure 1. Departure of sea surface temperature (SST) from average for April 5, 2012, as computed by NOAA's NESDIS branch. SSTs in the hurricane Main Development Region (red box) were near average to below-average.

Why the forecast of a quiet season?
The CSU team cited two main reasons why this may be a quieter than average hurricane season:

1) La Niña has weakened rapidly over the tropical Eastern Pacific over the past month, and is expected to be gone by the end of April. In its wake, El Niño conditions may develop in time for the August - September - October peak of hurricane season. If El Niño conditions are present this fall, this will likely bring about a quiet Atlantic hurricane season due to increased upper-level winds over the tropical Atlantic creating wind shear that will tend to tear storms apart. The CSU team is leaning towards putting their trust in the ECMWF model, which is predicting that a weak El Niño event will be in place by fall.

2) Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the Main Development Region (MDR) for hurricanes from the Caribbean to the coast of Africa between 10°N and 20°N were near average to below average in March 2012. Virtually all African waves originate in the MDR, and these African waves account for 85% of all Atlantic major hurricanes and 60% of all named storms. When SSTs in the MDR are much above average during hurricane season, a very active season typically results (if there is no El Niño event present.) Conversely, when MDR SSTs are cooler than average, a below-average Atlantic hurricane season is more likely. This year's SSTs in the MDR are among the coolest we've seen since our current active hurricane period began in 1995. The cool temperatures are largely due to strong surface winds that blew during the winter over the tropical Atlantic in response to the positive phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO.) The strong winds stirred up the water, bringing up cooler waters from the depths.

How good are the April forecasts?
The forecasters are using a new statistical model developed last year for making April forecasts, so we don't have a long enough track record to judge how good the new model is. The new model correctly predicted a more active than average season for last year, though called for more activity than was actually observed. However, April forecasts of hurricane season activity are low-skill, since they must deal with the so-called "predictability barrier." April is the time of year when the El Niño/La Niña phenomenon commonly undergoes a rapid change from one state to another, making it difficult to predict whether we will have El Niño, La Niña, or neutral conditions in place for the coming hurricane season. Correctly predicting this is key, since if El Niño, conditions are present this fall, this will likely bring about a quiet Atlantic hurricane season due to increased upper-level winds over the tropical Atlantic creating wind shear that will tend to tear storms apart.

CSU maintains an Excel spreadsheet of their forecast errors ( expressed as a mathematical correlation coefficient, where positive means a skilled forecast, and negative means they did worse than climatology) for their their April forecasts. For now, these April forecasts should simply be viewed as an interesting research effort that has the potential to make skillful forecasts. The next CSU forecast, due by June 1, is the one worth paying attention to. Their early June forecasts have shown considerable skill over the years.

Preliminary NWS survey of the April 3rd, 2012 Dallas, Texas tornadoes
The Fort Worth Weather Service office began surveying tornado damage yesterday from three tornadoes that ripped through the Dallas metro area on Tuesday afternoon. Official storm surveys will be released in the next few days. The Arlington/Kennendale tornado has a preliminary rating of EF-2. They suspect wind speeds peaked around 135mph, a path length of 4.6 miles, and a maximum width of 400 yards (1/4 mile). The Lancaster/Hutchins tornado has a preliminary rating of EF-2, and they suspect it had a maximum width of 200 yards (1/8 mile). The Forney tornado has a preliminary rating of EF-3, with suspected winds up to 150 mph. Surveys are ongoing--there's a lot of damage to see along the tornado paths. These ratings reflect the most severe damage the teams have seen so far. Eighteen tornado warnings were issued by the National Weather Service in Fort Worth on Tuesday, which saved hundreds of lives. There were no fatalities Tuesday, which is welcome news in the wake of 2011's deadly tornado season.


Figure 2. This photo was taken by a NWS Storm Survey team in Lancaster TX on April 4, 2012. It shows EF-2 tornado damage that occurred in parts of Lancaster on April 3, 2012.


Figure 3. From the Weather Service: This is an aerial photograph of a tornado damaged area in Arlington TX. The damage from the tornado that affected Kennedale and Arlington on April 3, 2012 has been given a preliminary rating of EF-2. The photo was taken on Wednesday, April 4, looking to the east.

Portlight disaster relief charity responds to this year's tornadoes
Disaster relief charity portlight.org sent Thomas Hudson to the DFW area yesterday to do damage assessment and determine whether there is a need for Portlight's services in the wake of the tornadoes. Check out the Portlight blog to see the latest updates, and catch up the great work they've been doing in Harrisburg, Illinois in the wake of the devastating EF-4 tornado that hit the town on Leap Day, 2012.

Jeff Masters

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 1216 - 1166

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26Blog Index

Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


i like AJE myself Al Jazeera
I got a brother follows AJE pretty steady. He thinks CNN is punk.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1215. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:
BBC is still hard to beat.


i like AJE myself Al Jazeera
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting BahaHurican:
I messed around with one some summer-before-last. It's great for storm watching. Maybe I'll do it again this August.
Finally I wont have 15 tabs that I will be switching back and forth from. I think I'll go tri soon. One for radar, one live stream, and one for the blog.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Did note however our little severe weather outbreak that wasn't late week. Could've been Nino knocking on the door.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I think Levi was running a dual setup at one point also.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting hurricanehunter27:
I just got dual monitors today and I don't think I'll ever go back to 1. Anybody else have a dual /tri setup?


No, as I never saw the need. I've considered trying it for forecasting purposes, though.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting hurricanehunter27:
I just got dual monitors today and I don't think I'll ever go back to 1. Anybody else have a dual /tri setup?
I messed around some with one summer-before-last. It's great for storm watching. Maybe I'll do it again this August.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Still full on La Nina weather in SEFL. Dog hot and dry as a bone. Excessive rains in Central Texas bring the calling card of the Nino. Could be a wacky year as I think the old gray mare just ain't what she used to be in regards to the "What Should Be". Just my opinion.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Sometimes I think our dreams of unbiased news reporting are just fantasies.

But that's prolly just my cynical side.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I just got dual monitors today and I don't think I'll ever go back to 1. Anybody else have a dual /tri setup?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting BahaHurican:
OH dear. The blog has devolved to political ranting under the pernicious influence of that radical blogger wx98....

Oh, wait....


Love a blogging brother alright good night!!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
OH dear. The blog has devolved to political ranting under the pernicious influence of that radical blogger wx98....

Oh, wait....

EDIT: [added mere seconds later]
Just joshing w' ya, wx98....

lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting yqt1001:


Your theology? :P Also, are you being serious about RT? I've just heard a lot about RT these days.

Anyways, what I actually do about controversial news: I go onto a political forum where I can get all hundreds of different views.
As far as I concerned its the same thing as religion. And yes. BBC is also great.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Saw a segment about the Russian election on RT

They said

You can vote for
Communist party
Or
Party communist
You choose!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
BBC is still hard to beat.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1201. yqt1001
Quoting hurricanehunter27:
As a libertarian I watch Russia Today for the most unbiased news. Wait why do I even have to mention my theology?


Your theology? :P Also, are you being serious about RT? I've just heard a lot about RT these days.

Anyways, what I actually do about controversial news: I go onto a political forum where I can get all hundreds of different views. There is a 0.001% chance of everyone agreeing on there anyways, so it's a good way to get a decent unbiased view.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting WxGeekVA:


I trust the Daily Show with Jon Stewart 100%

SARCASM FLAG: ON
No, but seriously though that isn't even news...
As a libertarian I watch Russia Today for the most unbiased news. Wait why do I even have to mention my theology?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Also of note El-Nino tends to feature early season storms that affect FL and the SE US in June. Many El-Nino years this has happened infact much more common than non el-nino years.
Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
Quoting BahaHurican:
CNN is left???

I never knew. They sure come across as less biased of a source than the others mentioned. At least to an outsider, anyway.
There is no "left" in the US. CNN might rate slightly to the liberal side of moderate in the real world. Oboma's health-care proposals are to the right of what Richard Nixon proposed. Go figure.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting BahaHurican:
I do know we tend to get more early season Twaves in el nino years. However, with some of the recent shifts we've been seeing, it's getting harder to predict that.


I know eventhough 2006 was about 8 inches below normal we still had a TS affect us early in June that year. I believe it was Alberto and it orginated in the NW Caribbean.
Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
Quoting yqt1001:


I trust The Onion the most.

Well, it's the only news outlet I'm subscribed to. :P
Looking at the Onions comment section is a big confidence boost.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1195. yqt1001
Quoting WxGeekVA:


I trust the Daily Show with Jon Stewart 100%

SARCASM FLAG: ON
No, but seriously though that isn't even news...


I trust The Onion the most.

Well, it's the only news outlet I'm subscribed to. :P
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StormTracker2K:


The odd thing is that C FL recorded the 10 driest year on record that year (2006). I sure hope that we have a 2009 year as opposed to a 2006 as it really can't get any drier than this here in C & S FL. Typically El-Nino brings an early onset to the wet season across FL & the Bahamas but that's not always the case the next few weeks will be interesting to see if we can start getting into a wetter pattern.
I do know we tend to get more early season Twaves in el nino years. However, with some of the recent shifts we've been seeing, it's getting harder to predict that.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting allancalderini:
Maybe as you remember 2010 feature Alex in june and 2011 Arlene so maybe Alberto will form also in the gulf of Mexico.
Well not only that.Shear has been below average most of the time,and instability has been high to.SSt are above average as well.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


All a matter of perspective:

3rd Annual TV News Trust Poll

-Democrats trust everything- except Fox News. NBC does the best with them at 50 (67/17), followed by PBS and CNN at 49 (66/17 and 65/16 respectively), ABC at 38 (57/19), CBS at 35 (58/23), MSNBC at 33 (56/23), and even Comedy Central at 4 (36/32). Fox News comes in at -36 (25/61).

-Republicans meanwhile don't trust anything except Fox News. PBS comes the closest to breaking even among non-Fox outlets, although not very close, at -30 (26/56). It's followed by CNN at -49 (18/67), MSNBC at -51 (18/69), NBC at -52 (17/69), CBS at -54 (17/71), ABC at -56 (14/70), and Comedy Central at -59 (12/71). But Fox News comes in at a stellar 73/17.


I trust the Daily Show with Jon Stewart 100%

SARCASM FLAG: ON
No, but seriously though that isn't even news...
Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3471
Quoting kipperedherring:
Or Al Roker, he's beautiful!
Is this what they mean by non sequitur?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting BahaHurican:
I do recall how that 2006 el nino seemed to appear out of nowhere. Caught all the forecasters off guard.


The odd thing is that C FL recorded the top 10 driest year on record that year (2006). I sure hope that we have a 2009 year as opposed to a 2006 as it really can't get any drier than this here in C & S FL. Typically El-Nino brings an early onset to the wet season across FL & the Bahamas but that's not always the case the next few weeks will be interesting to see if we can start getting into a wetter pattern.
Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
Quoting weatherh98:


I'm outnumbered


It's time to go Back to weather
No, seriously. I agree with the comments about Fox and MSNBC being biased. Their biases are pretty obvious. CNN, otoh, always seems to be at least trying to be objective, show both sides, etc. Lotta pple out here watch that for information that's relatively trustworthy / reliable. I'd never thought about them as a left-wing source.

Part of my problem, of course, is that the station I mainly watched over the years has been TWC.... lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting washingtonian115:
I would look for the gulf to have an early storm formation this year
Maybe as you remember 2010 feature Alex in june and 2011 Arlene so maybe Alberto will form also in the gulf of Mexico.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I made a blog about ENSO,so those who may be interested to comment apart from Dr Masters blog,go and visit my blog.

Link
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14279
Quoting StormTracker2K:


Infact Dr. Gray even mentions the fact that they are leaning toward the Euro as that model has been predicting this quick increase in SST's for months now across the the E-Pac. I would bet that tomorrow's update will have us in neutral. Whether people believe it or not on here we are heading for a El-nino question becomes now how strong?
I do recall how that 2006 el nino seemed to appear out of nowhere. Caught all the forecasters off guard.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting ncstorm:


might be sooner, you never know



Tropical Storm Ana (April)
I would look for the gulf to have an early storm formation this year
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


All a matter of perspective:

3rd Annual TV News Trust Poll

-Democrats trust everything- except Fox News. NBC does the best with them at +50 (67/17), followed by PBS and CNN at +49 (66/17 and 65/16 respectively), ABC at +38 (57/19), CBS at +35 (58/23), MSNBC at +33 (56/23), and even Comedy Central at +4 (36/32). Fox News comes in at -36 (25/61).

-Republicans meanwhile don't trust anything except Fox News. PBS comes the closest to breaking even among non-Fox outlets, although not very close, at -30 (26/56). It's followed by CNN at -49 (18/67), MSNBC at -51 (18/69), NBC at -52 (17/69), CBS at -54 (17/71), ABC at -56 (14/70), and Comedy Central at -59 (12/71). But Fox News comes in at a stellar 73/17.


Believeable
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
same as before top 30 days ago bottom now




This is one here is very impressive! What an increase in just 30 days across the C & E Pacific. Very likely we will be at 0.00 tomorrow or even +.01 as these temps have even warmed pretty good since last week.
Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
Quoting BahaHurican:
CNN is left???

I never knew. They sure come across as less biased of a source than the others mentioned. At least to an outsider, anyway.


All a matter of perspective:

3rd Annual TV News Trust Poll

-Democrats trust everything- except Fox News. NBC does the best with them at +50 (67/17), followed by PBS and CNN at +49 (66/17 and 65/16 respectively), ABC at +38 (57/19), CBS at +35 (58/23), MSNBC at +33 (56/23), and even Comedy Central at +4 (36/32). Fox News comes in at -36 (25/61).

-Republicans meanwhile don't trust anything except Fox News. PBS comes the closest to breaking even among non-Fox outlets, although not very close, at -30 (26/56). It's followed by CNN at -49 (18/67), MSNBC at -51 (18/69), NBC at -52 (17/69), CBS at -54 (17/71), ABC at -56 (14/70), and Comedy Central at -59 (12/71). But Fox News comes in at a stellar 73/17.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting BahaHurican:
CNN is left???

I never knew. They sure come across as less biased of a source than the others mentioned. At least to an outsider, anyway.


Yeah, CNN is the least biased of the news networks IMO. NBC and CBS are left, FOX is right, CNN is slightly left but less than the others.
Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3471
1178. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
same as before top 30 days ago bottom now


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting BahaHurican:
CNN is left???

I never knew. They sure come across as less biased of a source than the others mentioned. At least to an outsider, anyway.


I'm outnumbered


It's time to go Back to weather
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting weatherh98:


Fox is right wing the others are left...
CNN is left???

I never knew. They sure come across as less biased of a source than the others mentioned. At least to an outsider, anyway.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1175. ncstorm
Quoting washingtonian115:
Yeah that and where will the storm be going.LOL.Just two more months.


might be sooner, you never know



Tropical Storm Ana (April)
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15317
1174. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
sea temps 30 days ago top
bottom sea temps today


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting WxGeekVA:


TS JOSE REBORN!!!



Looks threatening
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Xyrus2000:


The price is actually higher than that in some area of Europe, but that is due to the fact that fuel is a heavily taxed commodity.

Higher gas prices are inevitable. Demand is outstripping supply and it will only get worse as time goes on. Any politician promising lower gas prices or "$2.00" gas prices is for all intents and purposes lying through their teeth.

If prices get high enough there will be an impact on global warming, but it wouldn't be as much as you might think and it may take several decades for prices to get high enough to do that. Even without cars, a lot of emissions are generated by power generation and industrial processes. Gasoline isn't the only combustible fuel for cars either. Natural gas and (if prices get high enough) coal liquification are also fuels that can be used. So higher prices MIGHT eventually slow the emissions rate, but by that time we will already be well on the way up the higher emissions scenarios.

If battery tech advances enough we may be able to centralize emissions to power generation facilities, thus making sequestration a more plausible solution. But we still have a ways to go before we get to that point.


EVs and wind turbines are great friends.

Bringing a bunch of EVs on line means that it will be more profitable to install turbines in order to charge EVs at night. And that, in turn, will mean more day/peak hour electricity on line which will allow us to burn less fossil fuels.

The average EV would need to charge 1.5 hours per night. That means that most EVs can sit, plugged in, waiting for supply peaks and then drop out when other demand requires the power.

Many EVs won't even need to charge every night. Many will be able to skip 2-3 nights is wind is scarce.
Member Since: February 22, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1344
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

The what?


Lift
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


They must be treating it as an "unnamed tropical depression" per National Hurricane Operations Plan:

An unnamed tropical depression will also retain its number (e.g.
Tropical Depression Six-E remains Tropical Depression Six-E) if it crosses into another area of
responsibility.


Thanks for the answers.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14279
Quoting weatherh98:


I suppose u watch CNN and msnbc
Might be better to watch more than one source before forming an opinion. It's called research.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting WxGeekVA:


TS JOSE REBORN!!!

Awwww such a cute little storm he was.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Some very large hail is possible tomorrow...that seems to be a theme this Severe Weather season.





Abnormally cold air aloft. some temps at 850 milibars a few days ago were at -20C over the mid south.
Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
Nrt, another question,this one related to 90C. Why after crossing into the Western Pacific is still 90C and not a WPAC invest?


They must be treating it as an "unnamed tropical depression" per National Hurricane Operations Plan:

An unnamed tropical depression will also retain its number (e.g.
Tropical Depression Six-E remains Tropical Depression Six-E) if it crosses into another area of
responsibility.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 1216 - 1166

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.