NOAA hurricane season forecast issued

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:16 PM GMT on May 22, 2006

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NOAA released its not-very-cheerful 2006 Atlantic hurricane season forecast today. The outlook calls for a very active 2006 season, with 13-16 named storms, 8-10 hurricanes, and 4-6 major hurricanes. An average season has 10 named storms, 6 hurricanes, with 2.3 of them being major hurricanes. However, since an active period of hurricane activity began in 1995, the Atlantic has averaged 15 named storms, 8.5 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes (Figure 1). NOAA expects an 80% chance of an above normal season, 15% chance near normal, and a 5% chance below normal. They note that 2006 may turn out to be the 4th hyperactive Atlantic hurricane season in a row. A repeat of last year's record season is not expected, though, because tropical Atlantic SSTs are not presently as warm as last spring. They also note that some of the other factors that contributed to last year's record season are not predictable at this time--an amplified upper-level ridge of high pressure over the eastern U.S., long periods of low thunderstorm activity in the central Pacific, and exceptionally low pressures in the Gulf and Caribbean Sea region.


Figure 1. NOAA's 2006 Atlantic hurricane season forecast, compared to the historical record.

NOAA does not make any forecast of where this season's storms are likely to hit, stating, "Historically, very active seasons have averaged 2-4 landfalling hurricanes in the continental United States and 2-3 hurricanes in the region around the Caribbean Sea. However, it is currently not possible to confidently predict at these extended ranges the number or intensity of landfalling hurricanes, and whether or not a given locality will be impacted by a hurricane this season."

For comparison, here is what the other hurricane forecasting groups are predicting for 2006:

Colorado State team (Phil Klotzbach and Bill Gray, updated April 4 2006, with a new update scheduled for Wednesday, May 31):

17 named storms
9 hurricanes
5 intense hurricanes

Cuba's National Weather Institute prediction from May 2, 2006:

15 named storms
9 hurricanes

Tropical Storm Risk, Inc. May 5, 2006 forecast:

15 named storms
8 hurricanes
3.6 intense hurricanes

So, if you live on the Atlantic or Gulf coast, it's time to get your hurricane supplies ready, perhaps buy that generator you've been thinking about getting, and make whatever other preparations you've been putting off. Hurricane season starts next week, and it looks like it'll be another significant one!

Jeff Masters

I'll be back tomorrow afternoon with an analysis of the new TV ads being run by the Competive Enterprise Institute procaiming that "Greenland's glaciers are growing, not melting", and "the Antarctic Ice sheet is getting thicker, not thinner." We'll see that these statements are dubious half-truths, at best.

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391. sawbones724
4:19 AM GMT on May 29, 2006
looking at the trends in the bar graph, we should be due for a slow year.
I got flooded out in SW LA this year and plan to rebuild this summer.
Thier is one problem with the new building codes..no one has a clue what they are.
I'm looking at a lot of mud to buy.
I'm hoping for a slow year....sorry storm lovers

390. TheBoomer
10:36 PM GMT on May 28, 2006
Alberto did not form Friday or saturday as predicted by STORMTOP

So it's sunday and the score for the 2006 Season is:

Mother Nature 1 STORMTOP 0
389. TampaSteve
12:51 PM GMT on May 24, 2006
Alec wrote:

"Wind speed is exponential in force and so 180 mph is MUCH worse than 135....(for every 10mph increase in wind the force is multiplied by 10)..."

Uh...nope...the wind force goes up as the square of the wind speed...each doubling of the wind speed produces four times the force.
388. GRDRATNAVARRE
10:32 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
GPTGUY, my dad's been working down in your area off and on, he said it still looks pretty blasted. How is it around you?
387. franck
10:16 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
s
Member Since: August 30, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1150
386. franck
10:16 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
Sound like a possibility.
Member Since: August 30, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1150
385. FlaRob
10:07 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
I think STORMTOP is really Joe Bastardi!!
384. franck
10:05 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
From the shear patterns and the fact that the little counterclockwise thing in the Gulf is drifting into less favorable environment, and the fact that it's not drawing convection...fizzle. Doesn't even look like a rain maker anymore.
Member Since: August 30, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1150
383. GRDRATNAVARRE
9:52 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
Have some info here I thought was pretty amazing. I found out that some FEMA comm guys may not have funding in time for this season to equip with radio interoperability devices. Astounding when it only costs about $20K to put a device in a mobile unit only $8K if you don't get all the bells and whistles. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you may recall the inability of many agencies to talk to each other on 9-11. 5 years on, several disasters later and FEMA still doesn't have the capability as standard. None the less, thanks to the NOAA forcast this week I convinced my boss to fund one, so at least where ever my unit goes we can get it up and pull in who ever needs it.
382. Skyepony (Mod)
9:50 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
So your trying to run off the mule...

It's nice to hear all opinions. & the banter as to what info is right is great, but to bring up stuff from last year, demanding humble apoligies for being wrong when we've all been wrong is absolutely uninformative & a waste of this blog space.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 156 Comments: 36034
381. Tazmanian
9:41 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
oh boy run
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5089 Comments: 114024
379. GPTGUY
9:26 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
LOL rays!! yeah alec my home and I are very thankful also!!
Member Since: August 26, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 391
378. GetReal
9:25 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
Yeah skyponey, but that same mule (wanted to use another word) keeps coming back to the perverbial trough again for more!!!
Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 8802
377. RL3AO
9:25 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
Twister down below.

I now it's not a first, but you don't hear about tornados in Austrailia every day.
376. Raysfan70
9:25 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
PLEASE KEEP ALL FOOD AND DRINKS AWAY FROM THE MOUTH AT THIS TIME.
Member Since: July 28, 2005 Posts: 138 Comments: 57354
375. Alec
9:24 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
Here's part of his discussion as NO was getting ready to get slammed:

Posted By: STORMTOP at 1:46 PM GMT on August 28, 2005(Actually, 8:46 AM CDT). OK GANG IM
HERE AND READY FOR THE BIGGEST STORM POSSIBLY ON RECORD..THERE IS ONLY ONE STORM WORSE
THEN THIAS ONE THAT IS THE FLA KEYS STORMS...THE PICS I TAKE WILL BE
PHENOMINAL..IT LOOKS LIKE I GOT THIS ONE RIGHT ON THE NOSE HUH
LEFTY

Notice, he's really happy that he was "right"...I am thankful that 180mph sustained winds didnt hit LA and MS...
374. GPTGUY
9:22 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
atmos dont do this im drinking mountain dew...not again!!
Member Since: August 26, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 391
373. Skyepony (Mod)
9:22 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
scary for a pony in here since ya'll have taken to beating dead horses again...
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 156 Comments: 36034
372. GPTGUY
9:20 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
because Michael you havent figured it out by now..he wants the attention focused squarely on him..every storm last year some way somehow was going to find there way to SE Louisiana..go back and read Dr. M's archive blogs, you'll see
Member Since: August 26, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 391
371. atmosweather
9:19 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
But no one can forget this:

"ok one day look at the satellite pics and the water vapor charts...the low west of emily shows up quite well and is affecting her movement and causing her to slow down in speed...she is due east of la pesca right now which proves to me emily is moving on a straight 300 heading ...this is bad for upper texas coast because the pressures are falling in the central gulf and that does not look to good for texas...the storm also has come to a majoer slow down in the last 30 minutes...emily will stay longer over water and hit the middle to upper texas coast......

"my scenario for the upper texas coast is starting to look better all the time...emily is stronger then the high right now and i think the low is starting to affect emilys movement and sloe her down like i said earlier..you hear that raindancer...the storm is due east of la pesca...like isaid the computers have taken one hell of a lunch..."

"i checked the pressures in the north central gulf and they have been falling since yesterday..you tell me how can the high be building in now..i think the high will build in but not as fast as they expected causing a major error in the track...i have no faith in the computers"
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
370. Alec
9:19 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
Posted By: MichaelSTL at 5:15 PM EDT on May 23, 2006.
Another problem with Stormtop is that he is always saying that every single storm will become a Category 6 and then hit SE Louisiana (is there any particular reason why he choose that location).


Michael, I think he was wishcasting it to hit his region because he wanted to be RIGHT....sad to say he would rather be right and have a 180mph hurricane hit LA than be wrong......
369. GetReal
9:18 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
Yeah SJ you may have a point. I have seen some data that indicates SST are actually warmer in some areas, or about the same as last year. Overall there is very little difference between this and last year regarding SST..
Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 8802
367. GPTGUY
9:17 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
alec you have a better chance of a cat 6 hurricane hitting Tallahassee, than ST discussing Emily
Member Since: August 26, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 391
366. GPTGUY
9:16 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
well Michael he's from you guessed it New Orleans!!
Member Since: August 26, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 391
365. Alec
9:16 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
Next time he comes on I want him to discuss his Emily forecast from last yr w/us(which I dont recall him ever doing)....
364. StormJunkie
9:15 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
Alec, I think that lower sst thing is still up in the air. I am not convinced yet.

SJ
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 15472
362. GPTGUY
9:14 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
i havent got to read the archives on Rita from stormtop yet...when he was "issue forcasts" on that i still didnt have power from Katrina!
Member Since: August 26, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 391
361. Alec
9:13 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
I mean, its not bad to be wrong, because we all goof up sometimes...But ST needs to admit when he is wrong and be more RESPECTFUL towards the rest of the forum.....
360. GetReal
9:12 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
GPTGUY don't forget that great Rita forecast; Rita was without a doubt going to strike SOUTH TEXAS coast!!! Another missed forecast by ST!!!
Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 8802
359. atmosweather
9:12 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
ROFL Michael!
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
358. GPTGUY
9:11 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
exactly atmos
Member Since: August 26, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 391
356. Alec
9:10 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
The SST's for the Atlantic and Caribbean are a bit lower than this time last yr..
355. atmosweather
9:10 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
No because he knows he was so wrong.
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
354. GPTGUY
9:09 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
its funny how he keeps bringing up Katrina...like I and everyone else said a blind squirrel can find nuts you say the same thing over and over its bound to happen...I dont see him mentioning his posts on Dennis or Emily from last year...
Member Since: August 26, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 391
353. atmosweather
9:09 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
The main factor is climatology. There have never been 2 seasons in a row with more than 18 storms. So, even if there is no El Nino, the water temperatures are as high as last year, the shear is lower like last year, and the surface pressures are lower than last year, it is still very very unlikely that 2 record-breaking seasons could occur in a row.
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
352. GetReal
9:09 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
Trouper to answer your question; unknown weather variables that change nearly day to day during the hurricane season!!!
Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 8802
351. GPTGUY
9:08 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
thats how its gonna be this year with stormtop...1)rediculous predicitons.2)confrontations.3)no answer.and when nothing happens out of his predicition.4)move on to the next patch of clouds, with no mention of the storm he goofed on before like it didnt exist
Member Since: August 26, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 391
350. Alec
9:07 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
yes fredwx, this feature in the Gulf will weaken and most likely not go northward.....The one hope is some rain for SW FL...
349. GetReal
9:07 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
No answer to my important question either!!!
Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 8802
348. Trouper415
9:06 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
What are the inhibiting factors that will limit this Hurricane season from achieving the magnitude of last years?
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 637
347. atmosweather
9:06 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
I think the ham operator is his mom!
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
346. fredwx
9:05 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
There are to weak troughs over the Gulf of Mexico but no closed low at the surface.

Map
Member Since: June 8, 2005 Posts: 221 Comments: 261
345. Alec
9:05 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
GetReal, like last yr he usually didnt respond to my questions and now he says his info is confidential.
344. Alec
9:02 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
Wind speed is exponential in force and so 180 mph is MUCH worse than 135....(for every 10mph increase in wind the force is multiplied by 10)...
343. GetReal
9:01 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
I still want an answer to my question StormTop; GREY's or REPTILIANS???
Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 8802
342. atmosweather
9:01 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
LOL GPTGUY!
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
341. bamaweatherwatcher
9:00 PM GMT on May 23, 2006
oh lets not bring up katrina again...we just had that discussion two days ago.

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About JeffMasters

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